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By Paul Goodman
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Miliband Red EdI suspect that the 304-0 vote for the second reading of James Wharton's bill – congratulations to him – will have less effect on Miliband than the views of his own party. Ian Austin's carefully-timed public support for a referendum is a sign of the pressure on the Labour leader from within his own ranks.

None the less, the bill and the pressure will reinforce each other as the months pass.  Miliband will not want to be cast as the leader who's against voters having a say, but nor will he want to be cornered into offering a poll: he will be worried about first promising one, winning the election…and then losing a referendum.

All of which adds up to him being pushed and prodded towards seeking to tack an amendment onto the bill in the autumn calling for a pre-2015 referendum.  This would convulse the Conservative benches, and cause endless problems for David Cameron.  Today, Tory MPs are ringing the bells. Come to the autumn, will they – as the old saying has it – be ringing their hands?

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