North West polls planned in EU referendum push


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Indy Politics

Campaigners for a national referendum on UK membership of the European Union are to stage three polls in North West constituencies, it was announced today.

The People's Pledge referendums will be held in Manchester Withington, Cheadle and Hazel Grove by postal ballot ending on July 19.

They follow a similar exercise in Thurrock earlier this year, when 89.9 per cent of those taking part said they wanted the chance to vote on whether Britain should stay in the EU.

The seats picked for the next round of referendums are all held by Liberal Democrat MPs - John Leech, Mark Hunter and Andrew Stunell.

Voters will be asked to take part in a postal ballot, administered by the independent Electoral Reform Services, with the same question as in Thurrock: "There should be a national referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union. Agree/disagree?"

A total of 30.4 per cent of those registered to vote took part in the Thurrock referendum - more than the 24.6 per cent who voted in local council elections in the area last month.

Some 68 MPs have now signed up to the People's Pledge campaign. Labour's Graham Stringer and Tory David Nuttall will launch the local campaign for a referendum in Cheadle on Monday.

Ian McKenzie, director of the People's Pledge, said: "The people of Thurrock set the pace last month by voting in huge numbers for a referendum.

"Voters in Manchester Withington, Cheadle and Hazel Grove now have the chance to quicken that pace towards a national referendum for the rest of us. All three main parties are trying to ignore this issue; they need to start listening to their voters."