Last night MPs voted in the House of Commons on a motion which proposed a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. MPs shared their views in an informed debate on this controversial subject which was preceded by a statement from the Prime Minister. In total, 81 Conservative backbench MPs rebelled against the Government to vote in favour of a referendum.
Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey, was one of the backbench MPs who decided to vote against the Government whip. Mr Andrew said ‘I found it an incredibly difficult decision to make and could understand the view of the Government on this issue. However, I am not an MP to solely follow the party line and my job is to represent the views of my constituents.
‘There is overwhelming evidence that the public wants to be consulted about this issue and as the last referendum on UK involvement in Europe took place in 1975, there is an entire generation of voters who have never had a say in our role in Europe. I voted as I did on a matter of principle, as I wholeheartedly believe that this vote was not just about having a referendum, it was about protecting democracy.
‘The decision to vote for the motion was not a sign of my own views of Europe, but about giving the public the opportunity to indicate their views. I believe that we, as Parliamentarians, should give the public a chance to make the decision that they feel is right.’
The motion was rejected by 483 votes to 111, as Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs also opposed it.