The “civil war” in the ruling Tory party over Britain’s relationship with the European Union (EU) intensified on Thursday after 116 party MPs, including a number of senior figures, ignored repeated pleas from Prime Minister David Cameron and voted against the Queen’s Speech which is traditionally passed without a vote.

In an unprecedented move, the Tory rebels brought in an amendment expressing regret that the Queen’s address, setting out the government’s legislative agenda, did not contain a Bill which would have enshrined in law Mr. Cameron’s promise to hold an “in-out” referendum on EU in 2017. They went ahead even after Mr. Cameron rushed out a draft referendum Bill. It is to be introduced by a party backbencher as a private member’s Bill.

Though the amendment was defeated, the scale of the revolt was seen as a direct challenge to Mr. Cameron’s personal authority as he struggles to hold the party together on an issue which threatens to destabilise the government.


Cameron facing revolt over EU membershipMay 14, 2013

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