CAROLINE Dinenage has joined Euro-rebels to stand against the government.
The Gosport Tory MP voted for a national referendum on whether the UK should remain part of the European Union – despite her party ordering its members to support its anti-vote stance.
She was one of 111 Tory, Lib Dem and Labour MPs to defy all three parties’ three-line whips – the strongest possible voting order – to oppose the proposal in the House of Commons last night.
She said: ‘The people must have their say. It’s vitally important. We should leave the EU. It costs us billions of pounds per year and we don’t really know where that money goes. There are benefits, but these are hard times financially and we must question whether EU membership is worthwhile. I believe it’s not.’
Ms Dinenage signed the original Early Day Motion, supported by 78 MPs of all major parties, which called for a public vote on the issue.
Thirty-four more added their names to amendments, also calling for a referendum.
Many, including the Gosport MP, are avowed Euro-sceptics.
But some pro-European MPs, including Portsmouth South Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock supported the proposal.
Mr Hancock, who holds several posts in the Council of Europe, was not in parliament yesterday, due to illness, but said he would have voted in favour of a referendum.
He said: ‘I believe strongly in the EU, though there are things I’d change about how it’s run. But my party said it was in favour of a referendum before the election and I want one. Most people in this country can see we should be part of the EU, and it would prove that to the sceptics.’
The vote could not have forced a referendum, but the result, of 483 votes to 111, is the biggest rebellion against the coalition government to date.