David Cameron faces more pressure for an "in-out" referendum on Europe as a 100,000-name petition is delivered.
A cross-party delegation of MPs and MEPs is due to hand in sacks full of signatures at 10 Downing Street.
The number demanding a referendum is enough to trigger a parliamentary debate on the issue - potentially highly awkward for the Prime Minister. Mr Cameron again insisted that there was "no case" for a national poll on EU membership.
"I want us to be influential in Europe about the things that matter to our national interest - promoting the single market, pushing forward for growth, making sure we get lower energy prices," he told MPs.
"Those are things we will be fighting for but I don't see the case for an in out referendum on Europe.
"We are in Europe, we have got to make it work for us."
Under a new e-petition scheme set up by the Government, any suggestion that receives more than 100,000 signatures online is passed to parliament's backbench business committee so a debate can be organised.
However, Commons leader Sir George Young has apparently assured the Europe campaigners that traditional pen-and-ink versions will be treated the same.
Independent MEP Nikki Sinclaire is due to be accompanied by Labour MPs Kelvin Hopkins, Austin Mitchell and Kate Hoey to hand in the petition.
"This is an encouraging development and raises the prospect of an early debate on our continued membership of the EU," she said. From Nikki's website:
FIGHT FOR A REFERENDUM ON EUROPE GOES TO NUMBER10 AS 100,000 DEMAND A SAY
The Prime Minister will come under mounting pressure to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership tomorrow (Thurs) when his own MPs march on Downing Street.
Tories will join a eight-strong delegation who will hand a 100,000-name petition demanding a straight “in or out” vote at the door of Number 10.
David Cameron has ruled out an early vote on the issue, but the huge public demand for one will give fresh impetus to 80 Eurosceptic back-benchers who want action.
The mountain of signatures has been collected in a cross-party campaign led by West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire.
It raises the prospect of a Commons debate on Britain’s relationship with Europe.
Mr Cameron has promised to give Parliamentary time to any issue which gets the support of at least 100,000 people on any e-petition set up on the official government website.
But Commons leader Sir George Young has written to Ms Sinclaire telling her that her traditional pen-and-ink petition will carry the same weight if it also has the support of an MP.
Her petition has so far been backed by dozens of MPs – many of them Conservative.
David Nuttall, Tory MP for Bury North, will raise the matter with Sir George at business questions tomorrow.
The campaign’s new head of steam comes as a new group of more than 80 Tory MPs plan to meet next week to press Mr Cameron into withdrawing Britain from the debris of the eurozone crisis.
Ms Sinclaire will be flanked by five MPs and two MEPs from all parties when she hands in the sacks full of signatures at 11.45am on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
They include: Kelvin Hopkins MP , Gordon Henderson MP, Trevor Colman MEP , Austin Mitchell MP, Nigel Dodds MP , Mike Nattrass MEP and Kate Hoey MP
Nikki will say:"This is an encouraging development and raises the prospect of an early debate on our continued membership of the EU - Almost eight in ten people want a national debate on the pros and cons of EU membership"
"To insist that only an online petition will count would disenfranchise millions of people, particularly the poor and elderly, who do not have an email account or access to a computer.”
The breakthrough is bolstered by a YouGov poll which reveals a clear majority want ordinary people to have the final say on whether we pull out of Europe.
It shows for the first time a majority of people would actually vote to leave the European Union in an referendum.
The poll results will make uncomfortable reading for Mr Cameron with mounting dissatisfaction over Europe on his own benches.
While he insists the names must be collected on individually entered electronic petitions, the Commons Leader's office has indicated that a traditional pen-and-ink petition could be lodged with the backbench business committee if it has one or more MPs sponsoring it.
Ms Sinclaire added:"The huge response to our campaign, together with the findings of our poll, show that most people want their say."
The poll shows overwhelming support for letting the public decide our future in the EU - and if they got their way they would vote to pull out.
Some 60 per cent of voters want a referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of the EU, according to the YouGov survey commissioned by Nikki's campaign.
If there was a vote, a massive 52 per cent would vote to leave, with only 30 per cent preferring to stay in and 15 per cent undecided and 4 per cent not bothering to vote.
Nikki, an independent MEP, added:"Clearly the people of Britain want to decide who governs Britain. It must be alarming to the government that despite all their assurances on sovereignty and cast iron promises, more and more people have given up on this European project. This argument has gone on far too long, we must decide our course once and for all in a binding referendum"
MPs are already facing demands to debate bring back hanging after 100,000 backed the move in an e-petition.
But Nikki points out that Britain is powerless to restore the death penalty while still in the EU because it would breach the UK's membership conditions by breaching the EU's Fundemental Charter on human rights.
She believes we get the worst of both worlds while inside the EU but outside the eurozone.
"We have one foot in and one foot outside it," she said. "This is detrimental to our interests and to those of the EU, both politically and economically. We need to take a decision as to where our future lies.
"Despite numerous promises, nobody under the age of 54 has ever had a say on Britain's relationship with the EU. This issue needs to be resolved."
EU membership costs Britain £48 million a day - or £4,912 per household over the last 11 years.
But we have signed away power to decide our own future, with 75 per cent of British regulation coming from EU law.
Nikki also pays tribute to the hundreds of people across the country who have helped collate the petition including one gentleman in Dorset who has collected 2,000 signatures. Nikki said "I'm overwhelmed by the level of support and the dedication of these people who truly are an inspiration."
Note to Editors.
The Campaign has collected in excess of 70,000 signatures on paper and in excess of 30,000 online at www.haveyoursay.eu
The paper petition forms will be handed in at 10 Downing Street at 11.45pm on Thursday September 8, 2011.
According to the Office of National Statstics report in 2010 9.2 million people have never accessed the internet.
For further information please contact Josh O’Nyons or Nikki Sinclaire MEP can be contacted at: 0794 146 1255
Supporting Mp's and MEPs include Kate Hoey MP Labour Richard Shepherd MP Conservative Austin Mithchell MP Labour Christopher Chope MP Conservative Philip Davies MP Conservative Kelvin Hopkins MP Labour Rt. Hon. Nigel Dodds MP Dem' Unionist Mike Nattrass MEP UKIP Rodger Godsiff MP Labour Phillip Hollobone MP Conservative Trevor Colman MEP UKIP Graham Stringer MP Labour
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