All three main party leaders will be whipping their MPs against the motion. (I note in passing that the Lib Dem manifesto contained a pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Europe. We can safely assume that that pledge went the way of all their other pledges, then? Well done, Fib Dems.)
My view is that there is a very clear case for a referendum. Opinion polls show very strong support - often a majority - for leaving the EU. At the last Euro election, the UK Independence Party came second in terms of vote share, and many Tory party and Green party members are also in favour of leaving. Circumstances have changed hugely since the last referendum in 1975. So for me, the case is difficult to argue.
As for what the result of a referendum would be... it's very hard to say. The case of the AV referendum shows that the initial opinion polling may bear very little relation to the final result. The "Yes" campaign would be hugely well funded and would be able to use the three main party leaders and front benches in its campaigning (actually, looking at them again, maybe that's a handicap rather than an asset). As in the AV referendum and the 1975 campaign the "No" campaign would suffer from being a mix of left and right wingers with few affinities with each other; the combination of Enoch Powell and Tony Benn on the "No" platform in '75 probably created a negative crossover effect whereby each turned off the other's supporters, and you can imagine the same thing happening with (for example) Nigel Farage and Caroline Lucas this time round.
But part of the reason for holding a referendum would be to find all this out. Therefore, I will be emailing my MP (the extreme Tory right winger Priti Patel) to recommend that she vote in favour of a referendum.
The obvious next question is: If there were a referendum, how would I vote? Probably I'd vote "no" although not for the same reasons as most of the "no" group. I'm basically a Eurofederalist who wants legislative matters decided by an elected European Parliament with Westminster relegated to the kind of role that a county council has in England at the moment. I'd abolish the European Commission and run the whole system through parliament with a European Prime Minister and a figurehead president. The various national heads of state would be kept on for ceremonial purposes.
But the current EU isn't anything to do with this vision. The European Parliament has very limited powers and most decisions are taken by unelected commissioners. To be frank (and there is a danger of sounding like Van Patten here but I'm going to say it anyway) the current EU governance structure is closer to China than any parliamentary democracy. And that's very dangerous.
So, I'd vote to come out of Europe for the moment, but if a true federalist Europe could be constructed either by renegotiation of existing treaties or by reconstruction from the ground up, I'd be an enthusiastic supporter of British re-entry.
One other point: There is the possibility of a 3-option referendum with "renegotiation" as the 3rd option. if this were the question, I'd be wary of voting for renegotiation because it's too fuzzy and allows too many opportunities to sell the voters out. In the 1975 referendum, Harold Wilson made it clear that a yes vote was a vote for renegotiation of the terms of the UK's membership - but in the end almost nothing was changed. One can imagine Cam/Clegg or Miliband doing much the same thing.
So, any MPs reading this: please do the right thing by your constituents and vote yes to a referendum on the EU on Monday 24th.