More than 140 of the 147 Tory MPs elected in 2010 have written to Adam Afriyie telling him to drop his amendment to the EU referendum bill. Given that Afriyie has previously suggested he’ll drop his attempt to bring the referendum forward to 2014 there is no support for it, it now seems doomed.
This loyalist flexing of political muscle by the 2010 Tory intake will cheer Downing Street. It shows that the parliamentary party does, for the moment at least, want to stay united on Europe. It also indicates that a certain discipline is returning to Tory ranks as the next election approaches.
Even six months ago, an amendment of this sort would have caused the leadership real trouble. The fact that it has flopped so comprehensively is a demonstration of the new, loyalist mood among Tory MPs which has clearly not been disrupted by the reshuffle. It’s also a sign that his colleagues view Afriyie’s leadership antics with disdain. This amendment would have elicited a very different reaction if it had been tabled by someone with genuine Euroscpetic credentials and motives.
I understand that if Afriyie does not comply with this request, another letter—this time from all intakes—will be released. Afriyie will be hoping that his appearance on Question Time tonight is less humiliating than this.
Here’s the full text of the 2010 letter:
Tags: Adam Afriyie, Conservatives, David Cameron, EU referendum, EU referendum. Conservatives, Europe, James Wharton, Tories, Tory, UK politics
Delivering a referendum on our membership of the EU is, as you have said, essential.
We believe that the bill before the House provides in its current form the best opportunity to secure this outcome, in part because of its uncomplicated, unambiguous nature. This gives the Bill the best chance of progressing through the House.
So, whilst we recognise the sense of urgency reflected in your amendment, we feel that this will jeopardize the progress of legislation and the prospect of a referendum.
Knowing that you value and respect the views of colleagues we hope and request that you withdraw support for the amendment tabled in your name.