Gosport MP joins Commons protest over EU

VOTE Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage
VOTE Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage
Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: Getty

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AN MP has criticised her party’s government for not putting the plan for a referendum on European Union membership in law.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage joined 113 Conservatives voting for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech to ensure a referendum happens in 2017.

It was defeated by 277 votes to 130, but the Labour Party claimed it left the prime minister David Cameron badly bruised.

Speaking to The News, Ms Dinenage said her vote for the amendment was consistent with her voting record.

She said: ‘As it stands, our involvement with the EU is stuffy and bureaucratic and it’s not always to our benefit.

‘We definitely need to re-negotiate that relationship to the better advantage of this country and I think it’s really important to put that marker down.

‘As it stands at the moment I don’t think it’s benefiting us.’

Ms Dinenage said the Prime Minister is working to renegotiate the country’s relationship with the EU and that would give a clearer choice in a referendum.

But she added: ‘I’m quite a Euro-sceptic so it would have to be a good deal for me to want to go with it.

‘In light of the fact there have been so many changes in Europe in the past couple of years, given the financial crisis that effects so many countries, it’s a good time to start re-positioning ourselves.’

Parliament will now debate legislation for a referendum after Conservative Stockton South MP James Wharton won a ballot to table a Private Member’s Bill on Tuesday.

He also voted for the amendment on Wednesday.

‘I hope that when it is brought before Parliament, that other MPs from other parties will be able to support it and agree with me that,’ he said.

‘Whatever you think about Europe and our relationship with Europe, the matter needs to be settled and people need to be given a choice.’

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery abstained in the amendment vote.

He said: ‘I was given a free vote as a Parliamentary Private Secretary on this amendment and my voting history on Europe is well known.

‘I may well have considered voting for it until the Draft Bill was put forward by David Cameron yesterday.

‘This paves the way for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership in the next parliament and, in my view, made the amendment unnecessary.’