Tory backbencher Adam Afriyie has insisted he will not be "bullied" into dropping his plan to amend David Cameron's EU referendum Bill to ensure a referendum on the European Union takes place before 2015 - despite being called, among other things, "a chateau bottled nuclear powered ****" by a fellow Conservative MP.
Afriyie has been pushing to amend the Downing Street backed legislation put forward by James Wharton that would guarantee an in/out referendum by 2017. His amendment would ensure any public poll took place before the election. However his plan has not gone down that well with other Tory MPs, who fear attaching the amendment would prevent the Bill from passing the Commons and scupper any chance of a referendum being held at all.
The internal-party row came to a head last week when Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, was reported to have launched into an angry tirade against Afriyie in the Commons tea room.
The Mail on Sunday reports that Soames told the MP for Windsor: "You are a chateau bottled nuclear powered ****. You are totally f***ing disloyal, a f***ing disgrace to your party, your fellow MPs, your prime minister and your country."
"This is nothing more than a grotesque f***ing vanity project to promote your absurd f***ing campaign to become party leader. You aren’t up to it, man!"
However writing on Conservative Home today, Afriyie indicated he intended to press ahead with his amendment despite having little or no support. He said as "victory is not a foregone conclusion" in 2015, the only way to ensure a referendum was held was to have it before the election.
"Without a Conservative majority government there is next to no chance of an EU Referendum at any point in the future," he said.
"As a backbench MP who has been elected to represent my constituents, one of my responsibilities is to critically evaluate legislation and suggest amendments where I feel an error has been made. That is one of the primary functions of an MP. And it is important that nobody is bullied out of doing so."
It is not the first time Soames has been accused of using rather strong language in defence of his party leader. He is said to have lashed out at Tory MPs Nicholas and Ann Winterton for voting against John Major. "You're c****s - and ugly ones to boot," he is accused of barking.
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