EU vote shows Euroskeptic strain in Tories

Oct. 25, 2011 at 12:30 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Half the Conservative backbench revolted against British Prime Minister David Cameron and voted for a referendum Monday on the European Union.

The referendum failed 483-111, with Labor and Liberal Democrat members of Parliament opposing it, The Daily Telegraph reported. But the vote revealed a broad strain of Euroskepticism in the Conservative ranks.

Among Conservative MPs, 79 voted for holding a referendum, 12 did not vote and two voted both yes and no, which signifies an abstention. At least two members of the government resigned and voted for the referendum.

Cameron and most members of the government described the vote as a victory for their side.

Michael Fallon, the Conservative deputy leader, said some of the party's MPs needed a chance to "let off steam."

But those who voted for the referendum disagreed.

"Finally, people in the Westminster bubble are beginning to reflect the real concerns that people out there have about Europe," MP Douglas Carswell said.

Labor Party leader Ed Miliband said Cameron had been humiliated.

"If he can't win the argument with his own backbenchers," Miliband said, "how can the country have confidence that he can win the arguments that matter for Britain?"

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