Cameron faces mutiny over Europe referendum.
At least 60 Conservative MPs have backed a motion calling for a national poll and senior party figures yesterday pledged to defy the leadership.
Labour has seized on Tory "squabbling" as proof the Government is "split from top to bottom" on the issue.
Shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle told MPs there were "reports of at least five ministerial aides on the brink of resignation" over the in/out referendum vote and accused the Prime Minister of "running scared".
Conservative Stewart Jackson revealed he was one of those who would quit his junior position in Government.
The parliamentary private secretary to Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson told the BBC that Europe was a "totemic issue" for the party. "My constituents are saying 'your three-line whip is from us and we think the people's voice should be heard'," he said.
"I will vote in favour of the motion and, in so doing, I will very likely relinquish my position as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, which will disappoint me but some things are more important than party preferment."
Mark Pritchard, secretary of the influential backbench 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, told the Commons there was "now a three-line whip from the Government on the Conservative benches".
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|Publication:||The Journal (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Oct 21, 2011|
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