12:52PM, Saturday 12 October 2013
Adam Afriyie has been in the news this week, after the Windsor MP revealed his plan to force the government to hold an early vote on whether the UK should leave the European Union.
But it has been a controversial stance, leading his neighbouring Maidenhead MP, Home Secretary Theresa May, to warn it could jeopardise the chances of a referendum at all.
We asked Mr Afriyie to reply to some questions about the issue. Here is his response.
Q: How long have you been thinking of moving the amendment to the Referendum Bill?
For a year or two. I wrote an article in The Telegraph earlier this year and mentioned it during the referendum debate a few months ago. I believe that it's in our national interest for people to have their say and settle the EU question sooner rather than later.
Q: How instrumental has pressure from the 'rise of UKIP' been on your decision?
The majority of British people want a referendum and to help win the next election we must re-unite the Conservative family, including those who may have voted for other parties temporarily.
Q: Are you concerned that Mrs May fears the whole bill could be jeopardised by delays caused by your amendment?
No. If MPs don't want a referendum in 2014 then the amendment can be withdrawn or debate curtailed within a couple of hours. The speaker won't even call an amendment for debate if not enough MPs support it. I very much support the Referendum Bill and will not jeopardise it.
Q: What would you say to people who inevitably see your actions as part of a bid to present yourself as a potential party leader?
David Cameron is the Prime Minister and he has my full support.
Q: Could this leave the party vulnerable to claims that it is still 'torn apart' by disagreements over Europe, maybe reducing its chances of achieving an overall majority?
The whole Conservative Party is united behind holding a referendum and so am I. But I believe it's important that parliament has the chance to at least consider a referendum in 2014.
Q: How do see your role after the next election if Mr Cameron does win a majority - have you 'burned your boats' for the time being if that happens?
I will be doing all I can to help the party win the election but I've never been ambitious for any position. I'm happy to serve my constituents and my country in any capacity they see fit.
Q: What direction would you like to see the Conservative party take after 2015?
We should continue to do what we do best which is to make sure our country operates on a sound financial basis and delivers jobs, economic and rising living standards for everyone.
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