William Hague has compared calls by Conservative MPs for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union to “a piece of graffiti”, the BBC informs. An in-out referendum was not government policy, the foreign secretary said, and “the wrong question at the wrong time”. All Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour MPs have been instructed to vote later against a motion calling for a public vote on the UK’s place in the EU. However, nearly 70 Tory MPs are likely to defy the party whip on the issue. Although that will not change the result of the vote at 2200 BST, the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said their action was being seen as a challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron’s authority. The prime minister opposes a public vote on Britain’s EU membership and has sought to shift attention onto helping to solve the eurozone crisis.