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Bishop of Derby: "Europe is a very young animal"

by Hannah Tooley

Rt Revd Alastair Redfern was speaking before MPs gather today to debate legislation paving the way for an EU referendum for the first time. It's the first legislative hurdle for the Bill in Parliament.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday suggested that ministers would need to back him on Europe or quit, before claiming he was misinterpreted, talking about ministers backing the renegotiation talks - not the referendum itself.

He has been visiting Germany for a G7 summit, and says he is confident he can secure reforms for Britain.

At least 50 eurosceptics MPs are campaigning for an exit.

Bishop Alastair sits on the Bishops Bench in the House of Lords. and told Premier: "We have to remember at one level, Europe is in our DNA, we're an amalgam of European tribes in our own country.

"And so we can't be unrealistic and pretend there's pure Germans, pure English or Scots, or British - we live in a mixed world and so that part of our DNA has to be taken seriously.

"But in terms of political arrangements the EU is a very young animal - and so I think it's a big political question, and a right and a proper one to say 'how can nation states, if they have a future, and that's a question I think, how can they learn to co-operate economically, politically, monetarily'?"

Listen to Premier's Political Editor Martyn Eden speaking to Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, including a prayer for our representatives, here:

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