Outspoken Labour MP Andy Slaughter has attacked Greg Hands over Europe, accusing his Tory rival of 'outrageous political hypocrisy' following the referendum debate this week.
New government whip Mr Hands, also MP for Chelsea and Fulham, was the Commons 'teller' for MPs who voted against having a referendum to determine Britain's future membership of the EU.
Hammersmith MP Mr Slaughter says this represents a massive U-turn for his opponent, a known Eurosceptic, and he accused him of compromising his principals and 'towing the party line now he's got a little bit of power'.
Mr Slaughter said: "For years he has been part of a hard right group of Tories. He built political campaigns on holding a referendum and has spent his life being a Eurosceptic. This is outrageous political hypocrisy of the worst kind and represents a seismic shift in his opinion."
Mr Slaughter highlighted a campaign called 'I want a Referendum', to which Mr Hands, who became a whip earlier this month after a reshuffle following the resignation of defence secretary Liam Fox, leant his name in 2008. More than 3/4s of the 6,000 Hammersmith and Fulham residents unofficially polled said they would welcome a debate on the matter.
Mr Hands said of the poll at the time: "The people of Hammersmith and Fulham have spoken. They want a referendum on the EU Treaty. I will be voting next week to give them one."
Responding to Mr Slaughter this week, Mr Hands dismissed his rival and said the key word in his 2008 comments was 'treaty', which he says referred to the Lisbon Treaty, the agreement that created a more powerful European Parliament in 2009. Opponents say it further threatens national sovereignty.
Mr Hands insists new role as a whip doesn't alter his position and he denied hypocrisy. "The two referendums are completely different. That was about the Lisbon Treaty, this was a debate about whether we stay in Europe altogether.
"No one, and certainly not me, promised a referendum on being a member of Europe. I may want a referendum on further repatriating powers from Europe but do not want one on our membership and I never have.
"Labour promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but reneged on it."
Mr Slaughter called Mr Hands' response 'laughable', adding: "His career has been built on anti-Europe rhetoric and he is now announcing votes against a referendum. He's disingenuous."
Prime Minister David Cameron suffered the worst Tory rebellion of his time in office when 79 of the party's backbenchers voted in favour of a referendum.