Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
MP urged to drop EU bill amendment
1:02pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
THE Tory MP behind calls to secure an EU referendum before the next general election has been told to "get on with it" and drop his amendment to the European Union (Referendum) Bill.
Commons Leader Andrew Lansley - who is responsible for setting the parliamentary schedule for Government legislation - said an amendment tabled by eurosceptic Adam Afriyie could jeopardise the progress of the Bill, which is due to return to the floor of the Commons on November 8.
The Private Members Bill, which has been tabled by Tory MP James Wharton (Stockton South), sets out plans for an in/out referendum in 2017. But Mr Afriyie has tabled an amendment to the Bill demanding any vote on the UKs membership of the EU happens next year before the general election.
Mr Afriyie - once subject of speculation that he could challenge for the Tory leadership - apparently has little support from fellow eurosceptics in the party. According to the Spectator, more than 140 of the 147 Tory MPs elected in 2010 have written to the MP to tell him to drop his amendment.
Conservative Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough), a strong supporter of a referendum, said trying to change the Bill now would be like trying to throw a gallon of poison over it.
And Mr Lansley warned changing the Bill could jeopardise its progress.
He said: "My view is that this is an important Bill that ... is drafted in a very straightforward way. Tinkering, and seeking ... to improve Private Members Bills in a way that is no more than tinkering with it, risks prejudicing it.
"Those, who like me, share the view that this Bill should be passed and that it will give the people of this country the say about the future of this country's relationship with Europe as they should, at the time that they should, should simply accept that and get on with it."
His comments followed a question from Sir Edward in the House of Commons.
He said: "With regards to Private Members business and the forthcoming returning of the Referendum Bill to this House, will you remind the House that this Bill is such a beautiful, and yet fragile, flower that seeking to improve it by amending it is about as useful to its life as throwing a gallon of poison all over it?"
No 10 has previously said Mr Afriyie's amendment would not be allowed to pass in any circumstances.
Comments are closed on this article.