Rebel British Lawmakers Call for Referendum on EU Membership

Posted October 24th, 2011 at 9:15 am (UTC-5)
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Members of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party are supporting calls for a national referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union.

Nearly 80 members of parliament, many of them Conservatives, are backing a parliamentary motion calling for the referendum. Conservatives have been told to vote against the measure Monday or face disciplinary action. The referendum would ask whether Britain should remain in the EU, leave the EU or renegotiate its membership.

Monday’s vote appears set to fail and is non-binding but is seen as a test of Mr. Cameron’s authority.

Foreign Secretary William Hague, a Conservative, is against the referendum at a time when the EU is in a debt crisis and Britain’s economy is fragile. He says the referendum would create additional economic uncertainty.

Britain is a member of the 27-nation bloc, but is not one of the 17 nations that uses the euro currency.