Isle MP Andrew Percy has pledged to resign the Conservative Whip in Parliament if his party wins the next election and does not hold a referendum on membership of the EU.
As the debate on whether to stay in Europe or not hots up Mr Percy has thrown his weight behind a House of Commons Bill to deliver an in/out referendum on Britain’s European Union membership by 2017.
The Bill was tabled by Conservative MP James Wharton. A referendum is backed by PM David Cameron and his party, but opposed by the Labour and Liberal Democrat leadership.
The European Union (Referendum) Bill has already passed the report stage and continues its passage through the House of Commons.
Mr Percy said the topic of whether to stay in Europe or bail out was gathering momentum and he believed a vote should be taken by the British public.
The MP has run a long campaign to give local people a say on the country’s membership of the EU, which he feels is a vital public issue that will affect everyone’s long-term future. In 2011 he was one of 81 Conservative MPs who voted for an EU vote and has long argued the case.
The Conservative Party has additionally pledged a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in their 2015 general election manifesto.
Mr Percy said: “I feel very strongly that people should get to vote on Britain’s membership of the EU, so it’s important this Bill passes through Parliament. It’s disgusting that the Labour and Lib Dem leadership want to stop residents having a say. They don’t trust local people.
“I know some people do not believe a referendum would ever happen and that is why I have already promised that if the Conservatives win a majority at the next election and – something I don’t believe would happen – did not provide a referendum, I would resign the Conservative whip in Parliament.
“Nobody under 56 has voted on our membership and, even then, back in 1975, people were voting for a completely different relationship with Europe. Residents have strong views on this issue so I’m proud to be standing up for them by backing a referendum.”