01:12AM, Friday 11 October 2013
Windsor MP Adam Afriyie argued the point for a referendum on Europe before the general election when he appeared on Question Time.
The BBC1 programme, broadcast from Cambridge yesterday, also featured Labour MP Dianne Abbott, Business Minister Jo Swinson, Times columnist Matthew Parris and academic Sarah Churchwell.
A question from the member of the public regarding whether the Government should hold a referendum on the UK's membership in the EU was answered by Mr Afriyie.
He said: "I believe that the British people need to have a say, our relationship with the EU is the white elephant in the room.
"It's not revolutionary for a backbench MP to suggest that the people have a referendum in 2014, we have a political elite who for 40 years have been saying it's not the right time.
"I think 12 months is plenty of time to negotiate and it puts pressure on the EU to come forward and convince us why we should stay in the EU."
After presenter David Dimbleby said that 140 Conservative MPs had written to say they were against a referendum before the general election, Mr Afriyie said: "I come from a tough background, I was dragged up lovingly in Peckham, south-east London.
"I have had some tough challenges in my life and people saying to me that I can't achieve this but I work hard and push forward.
"If someone says 'no, a backbench MP can't have a voice on this', I would fight all the way."
When asked if what he would vote in the referendum, Mr Afriyie said he would vote to come out but in 12 months time after negotiations were on the table, he could change his mind.
When Mr Dimbleby referred to Mr Afriyie’s alleged leadership challenge, he responded: “Oh not back to that old thing, you get one newspaper story and everyone thinks your running for leadership.
"It's a load of nonsense, I support the Prime Minister and hope he is there for 1,000 years."
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