UK's Cameron faces rebellion over Europe

By REUTERS
October 24, 2011 18:06

 
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LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron faced the biggest rebellion of his premiership on Monday with dozens of his own party members in parliament set to back calls for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

The debate reignites a long-simmering row over Britain's relationship with Europe which tore apart the Conservatives in the 1990s and which Cameron - a pragmatic eurosceptic - had tried to defuse since he became party leader six years ago.

Although the vote in parliament looks set to fail and carries no legal weight, it has rattled Cameron's authority and proven an unwelcome distraction as he fights to keep Britain at the forefront of negotiations to solve the euro zone crisis.

It comes a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy berated Cameron at an EU summit for wanting to be involved in crisis talks but then pandering to Conservatives at home by lecturing Europe from afar and gloating about the euro crisis.

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