Two Brighton and Hove MPs to back calls for EU referendum

Posted On 24 Oct 2011 at 5:03 am

Two of the three MPs for Brighton and Hove have indicated that they will vote in favour of a referendum on membership of the European Union.

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP for Hove, is expected to defy a three-line whip today (Monday 24 October) to back a referendum.

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, also supports the motion calling for a referendum.

Simon Kirby, the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, said at the weekend that he would listen carefully to the debate before deciding which way to vote.

The motion says: “This House calls upon the government to introduce a bill in the next session of Parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union, leave the European Union or renegotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.”

It is being debated after more than 100,000 people signed an epetition.

Mr Weatherley said: “The vote on Monday, triggered by the people requesting a debate via the epetition, will hopefully be the start of a long overdue debate.

“I have supported the call for an extended debate which will hopefully end up with us renegotiating our terms with Europe.”

Dr Lucas said: “I support a referendum on our membership of the EU because I am pro-democracy, not because I’m anti-EU – and because I want to see a radical reform of the way Europe operates.

“The EU has the potential to spread peace and make our economies more sustainable, and to promote democracy and human rights, at home and throughout the world.

“But it must urgently change direction, away from an obsessive focus on competition and free trade and towards placing genuine co-operation and environmental sustainability at its heart. 

“Thanks to the bureaucratic and remote way which the EU works, many people today are no longer sure what it is for.

“So the challenge now is to make those institutions more democratic and accountable – and to develop a more compelling vision of the EU’s role and purpose. 

“A referendum would allow the space for that debate about the future of the Union to occur, and to ensure that the goals of the European project really are in the best interests of EU citizens.”

Mr Kirby said at the weekend: “It’s too early to say. I shall be listening very carefully to the debate on Monday. I have cancelled all my constituency engagements.

“I will be continuing to take soundings from local people and wait to see what amendments the Speaker decides to call.

“In any event I shall try very hard to do what’s best for my constituents and our country.”

Reports suggest that Mr Kirby may back an amendment by fellow Tory George Eustice – if it is called by the Speaker.

The Eustice amendment says: “This House calls upon the government to publish a White Paper during the next session of Parliament setting out the powers and competences that the government would seek to repatriate from the EU, to commence a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU and to put the outcome of those negotiations to a national referendum.”

Dr Lucas has tabled an amendment to the motion calling for “radical reform of the EU, increasing its transparency and accountability, refocusing its objectives on co-operation and environmental sustainability rather than competition and free trade, and enabling member states to exercise greater control over their own economies”.

  1. daz smith Reply

    Mr Weatherley said: “The vote on Monday, triggered by the people requesting a debate via the epetition, will hopefully be the start of a long overdue debate.
    Funny thing he never voted for it, is this the usual rhetoric from our local MP, makes big comments and does not see them through, must be something to do with the money

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Mike Weatherley signed up to the rebel group! But, inexplicably, when it came to putting his vote where his declared positin was, he voted both ways which amounts to “abstain”. I’m not just disappointed….I thought he was better than this.

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