Greater Manchester voters in favour of EU referendum

Voters in two Greater Manchester constituencies have polled in favour of a national referendum on UK membership of the European Union.

Over 85% of voters in both Cheadle and Hazel Grove voted yes to a referendum in the People's Pledge postal ballot, which saw a turnout of about 35%.

Mark Seddon, from People's Pledge, claimed it was an "astonishing result with significant implications".

A third vote in Manchester Withington was postponed until later in 2012.

'Popular opinion'

People's Pledge, which is led by both pro and anti-EU MPs, is planning more than 100 separate votes, to be conducted by Electoral Reform Services, across the country by 2013.

Their aim is to force a national referendum on the UK's membership.

Voters in the constituencies were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that "there should be a national referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union".

In Cheadle, 86.6% agreed with the statement, while in Hazel Grove, 88.5% voted in favour of the referendum.

People's Pledge issued 83,266 ballot papers in the two constituencies, 29,276 of which were returned. Turnout in Cheadle was 35.4% and in Hazel Grove, 34.9% voted.

Mr Seddon said the results meant that "Britain's politicians can no longer afford to ignore popular opinion".

"Given that Britain's relationship with the EU is not currently centre stage, it is remarkable that over a third of voters in Hazel Grove and Cheadle have chosen to participate in this independent referendum.

"The political parties at Westminster are now going to have to rethink their attitude to a national referendum on the EU."

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