By Ian Dipple Wednesday 09 October 2013 Updated: 09/10 16:53
REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley has warned her party not to allow Europe to distract it from more pressing concerns facing residents.
Tory MP Adam Afriyie is planning to attempt to bring forward a vote on Britain's membership of the EU to next October by tabling an amendment to a bill due to be discussed next month which would commit the Government to holding a referendum on the issue by 2017.
Prime Minister David Cameron wants to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Brussels before holding the vote but Mr Afriyie believes people were not convinced that would happen and holding an early poll would boost the Conservatives chances of winning the next General Election by limiting the threat of UKIP.
The row threatens to split the party but Mrs Lumley, who has rebelled against the Government on Europe before, told the Standard this time she would be supporting the Prime Minister.
"I would love to see an earlier vote but it's unrealistic, if it was possible the Prime Minister would have done it. The Prime Minister deserves the chance to go and negotiate a new settlement and there would not be enough time to do that before the election.
"I don't believe this is the right thing to do and would cause division in the party."
And she warned while Europe was a big issue it was not a topic voters were bringing up on the doorstep and the party had to be careful not to get distracted.
"I'm currently conducting a survey of Redditch residents and so far Europe does not feature in the top three concerns," she added.
"Right wing Conservatives will always make Europe into an issue but we need to be careful we don't seem to care about anything else. We have to remember 2001 and 2005 when we pledged to save the pound but we didn't win the election.
"It is an issue but it's not the biggest issue which for me remains the economy."
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