Ed Miliband urged to propose a referendum on Britain's EU membership before next election

Lord Parry says it would be 'very difficult' for party to resist demands for a public vote

An adviser to Ed Miliband has urged the Labour leader to propose a referendum on Britain's EU membership before the 2015 general election.

Lord Mitchell, who was appointed Mr Miliband’s business ambassador and enterprise adviser in July, said it would be "very difficult" for the party to resist demands for a public vote. He told Parliament’s The House magazine: "I would say if a decision is being taken for a referendum it should have been taken as quickly as possible. Before the election, frankly."

Mr Miliband has opposed David Cameron’s plan for an in/out referendum in 2017 but some shadow Cabinet members, including Ed Balls, are more open to a plebiscite.

In the Commons today, a proposal by the Conservative MP Adam Afriyie for a referendum next year was defeated by 249 votes to 15. Fourteen Tory Eurosceptics defied their party’s whips to support the move.

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