By Tim Montgomerie
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A new poll of MPs, conducted by YouGov for the People's Pledge campaign, finds that there is a big gap between the percentage of Tory MPs supporting a referendum on Britain's EU membership and the percentage of Labour MPs open to such a promise.
The actual figures were as follows:
- 41 out of 47 Conservative MPs surveyed said that their next General Election manifesto should have a commitment to hold an EU referendum.
- 10 out of 39 Labour MPs surveyed said that their next General Election manifesto should have a commitment to hold an EU referendum.
- 6 out of 9 Liberal Democrat MPs also supported a referendum.
The poll proves to me two big things: (1) that Euroscepticism is still a minority pursuit inside the Labour Party and (2) that if David Cameron doesn't soon offer a referendum then internal party management will become very tricky.
Another YouGov poll of ALL voters – for The Sunday Times – finds that when the question about our EU membership isn't asked in binary In/Out form there is still a hunger for big change but only 26% support "complete withdrawal". An additional 34% want "little more than a free trade area";
Bernard Jenkin MP's proposed question for a referendum – "Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political cooperation?” – seems about right.