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EU vote move was a mistake, says city MP Walker
MPs across Worcestershire have criticised a fellow Conservative for trying to bring forward a vote over Britain’s future in the EU – accusing him of “grandstanding”.
Parliamentarians in the county say Adam Afriyie, tipped in some quarters to be the next party leader after David Cameron, is wrong to try and secure a referendum for October 2014.
Mr Cameron has pledged to give the public a say in 2017 as long as the Tories can win the next general election.
Mr Afriyie has tabled an amendment to the European Union (Referendum) Bill to try and bring it forward to next year.
The intervention has angered MPs in Worcestershire, including Robin Walker, who represents Worcester.
He said: “My honest opinion is that he is grandstanding and trying to raise his profile, which is a huge mistake.
“All it will do is give the opposition chance to talk it out and try to kill the bill together, which is what none of us wants. It’s a great shame and a large number of colleagues are very angry about it.”
Backbench MP James Wharton created the original private members’ bill, but it will only become law if the government allocates enough parliamentary time to overcome opposition in the chamber.
There are fears that Mr Afriyie’s move could delay it further, threatening to jeopardise it completely.
Peter Luff, who represents Mid-Worcestershire, said: “One thing that kills a private members’ bill is time.
“I don’t think it’s got much support and I think it’s a misjudgement, as we all want to see the bill approved.”
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I will continue to back James Wharton’s bill in its current form.
“Private members’ bills are a fragile life form, as I discovered myself when I tackled the West Lothian question.
“Any amendment to the Bill risks losing this delicate chance to give the British people their say.”
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