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Page last updated at 08:00 GMT, Tuesday, 25 October 2011 09:00 UK

Gove: EU vote 'not a humiliation'

David Cameron has suffered the largest rebellion against a Conservative leader over Europe. Seventy-nine backbench Tories defied the Government to vote in favour of a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Two more abstained.

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, a committed eurosceptic, said that despite the result, the party was united on the need to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU.

"It's not a humiliation," he told Today presenter John Humphrys.

"While the numbers are significant, I think the difference in policy between the government's position and the rebels' position isn't that significant.

"We need to have a new relationship with the European Union which means that we take back powers to foster growth in this country.

"David Cameron is committed to that. The backbenchers who voted in a different way are committed to that.

"The backbenchers believed that the precise motion that they put forward and the precise referendum which they argued for was the way to do it. I respectfully disagreed with them."

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