Britain’s parliament has soundly rejected a motion to hold a referendum on whether it should stay in the European Union, but a large block of the prime minister’s own party rebelled against him by voting yes.
Prime Minister David Cameron urged the parliamentarians to vote no. His Conservative Party leaders say the EU is in a debt crisis, and the British economy is shaky. They say a referendum would create more economic uncertainty.
But in a sign of party dissent and disunity, 80 Conservatives ignored Cameron and his threat of disciplinary action, and joined those voting for a referendum.
Supporters of the motion say Britain has already ceded too much power to the EU. They also say polls show many British citizens want to bail out of the EU or renegotiate Britain’s membership.