MP says: "I will vote for EU Referendum Bill on 5 July"

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed the draft EU Referendum Bill which has been published by the Conservative Party and will be voted on in the House of Commons later this summer.

Conservative MP James Wharton announced that he would introduce the legislation after he topped the ballot for Private Member's Bills last week.

The Bill will be debated on Friday 5 July and Nick Herbert has already confirmed that he will vote for its Second Reading that day.

The draft Bill has already been published by the Conservative Party and states that a referendum on EU membership must be held before the end of 2017.

In a major speech in January the Prime Minister announced that he would seek to renegotiate Britain's membership of the EU and then put the issue to the public in a referendum.  People would have the choice of leaving the EU or staying in on better terms.

The referendum will be pledged in the Conservative Party's next election manifesto, but the Private Member's Bill now gives the opportunity for the whole Party to demonstrate that  we are serious about the policy and united behind it.

Every Conservative MP is expected to vote for the Bill, including members of the Government.  Ed Miliband has already said that Labour opposes a referendum, as do the Liberal Democrats, despite it being their policy at the last election.

Nick Herbert, who led the campaign against Britain joining the euro, was the first minister in the Government to call for a referendum when he was interviewed last year.

Nick said: "I am a strong supporter of a referendum and want to see legislation to pave the way for it.  However, I didn't think it was sensible to force a vote on an amendment to The Queen's Speech earlier this month, because ministers could not possibly support that.

"A far better plan is now in play - all MPs will be able to vote on the Private Member's Bill to introduce a referendum, and I will be enthusiastically voting for this on Friday 5 July.  Then people will be able to see that Conservatives are serious and united in supporting a referendum which the other parties oppose."

A referendum could not be held in this Parliament because the Liberal Democrats, whose support is needed to secure government legislation, oppose the policy.  Also, the Prime Minister has explained that he wants to renegotiate Britain's membership first, and then put a better deal to the public.

Discussions are already underway on the reforms necessary to prop up the euro, and these provide the opportunity to return powers to Britain and argue for a reformed European Union.

Alexander BlackBrexit, EU