Two of Havering’s MPs defy party leaders to back EU referendum
Two of Havering’s three MPs defied their party leaders in the House of Commons by voting for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) on Monday night.
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, who led calls for the vote during Prime Minister’s questions last week, joined 80 other Conservative MPs in calling for the referendum.
Dagenham and Rainham’s Jon Cruddas was among 19 Labour MPs who also defied their party’s leadership and called for the poll.
The borough’s Conservative MPs were split, with Angela Watkinson (Hornchurch and Upminster) voting against the motion, which wasn’t binding on the government.
The motion proposed putting a multiple choice referendum to voters - to remain a member of the EU on current terms, leave it, or negotiate a new reltationship.
Mr Rosindell said: “I think the British people deserve a referendum and they should have it at some point. We can’t go on denying the British people their destiny.
“I spent the whole of the last weekend in Romford asking local people what they thought, and I’m not going to betray the people of Romford.”
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He added that he would like the UK’s relationship with the EU to be similar to Switzerland’s – a trading partner but not a member.
Mr Cruddas said: “This is about democracy. This is not about if you are for against Europe it is about respecting the people.
“All parties have promised a referendum over the last couple of years, and all three are now against one. That is not right and undermines trust in the political process. This will fester until a proper open discussion is allowed.”
In what was the biggest ever Conservative Party rebellion on Europe, the vote saw more than half of David Cameron’s backbenchers defying his instruction to not back a referendum.
Ms Watkinson, who is a government whip – ensuring MPs vote the way the leadership wants – said a renegotiation of the terms of the UK’s membership is needed before an in or out referendum is held, in order to protect trade.
She added: “I predict that a multiple choice referendum would lead to an inconclusive result, and thus be a waste of time, effort and money.”