Britain’s parliament convincingly rejected a call for a referendum on leaving the European Union. But what wasn’t so convincing was the prime minister’s ability to control his own party.
Around 80 votes were cast for the motion by Conservative members openly rebelling against their leader.
But he did have some support including that from Damian Collins, Conservative MP.
“Based on the facts in front of me and my concern for the relationship between the UK and the EU now, I’ve decided it’s not the right time now to vote for a motion like this.”
Nigel Farage, of the UK Independence Party MEP was predictably scathing: “ With these people, there’ll never be a right time. Cameron himself has given the clue. He said I don’t want a referendum on our EU membership, because I believe it is in British national interest to stay a member, So, what he’s saying is to hell with you, I couldn’t care less what the British people think. I’ve decided the right thing is for us to stay a part of this.”
Cameron had told his party all efforts should be on solving the euro crisis rather than debating an unnecessary distraction. But rebels inflicted the biggest ever revolt against a Conservative prime minister on a European issue and seriously dented his authority.