By Tim Montgomerie
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The Mail on Sunday recently reported that the Commons' backbench Committee was likely to give time for MPs to debate a motion in favour of holding a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.
Now agreed for debate on 27th October is the following motion (something I recommended only this morning as part of my Majority Manifesto):
The 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
(a) should remain a member of the European Union on the current terms;
(b) leave the European Union; or
(c) re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.
My source tells me that the motion is gathering considerable support from a large number of MPs and not "the usual suspects". The motion's value is that it is appealing to more moderate Eurosceptics as well as "out-ers".
By way of footnote readers might be interested in my suggestion – made to yesterday's BBC Analysis programme – that about a third of Tory MPs probably favour withdrawal and another third favour fundamental renegotiation. Radio 4's Ed Stourton writes about this here.