• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Is the EU Referendum Bill dead?

The EU referendum Bill - pushed forward by Tory backbenchers aiming to legislate now for an EU referendum to be held in next Parliament (post-2015) - passed through the Commons with flying colours but is now stuck in the House of Lords.

Labour and Lib Dem Peers in the Lords have just managed to pass two amendments. These amendments are now sent back to the Commons which will have to decide whether to accept or reject them.

Big question now is whether this Bill will run out of the time, and therefore die an early death. This happens if the 2013-2014 Parliament session runs out before the Bill is passed (in the UK system, all proposals are chopped by the end of a parliamentary session). This ends at the end of April.

The short answer is that's we don't know yet, but it'll go down to the wire.

Parliament could attempt a round of Parliamentary Ping Pong, or "Wiff Waff" as Boris Johnson called it, as the amendments are returned to the Commons to be debated - probably on Friday the 28 February. If their Lordships amendments are reversed by MPs they will be ponged back just in time for the end of the session - at the end of April.

But does the Commons actually need to pong them back or could they simply accept it all in order to speed the Bill on its way? Well, the first amendment is about the actual referendum question:

"Do you think that the UK should be a member of the EU?"

Which the Peers want to change to:

"Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?"

Well, opinions are divided as to whether the question will make any difference on the outcome - something we looked at here. But the Electoral Commission felt that some Britons were blissfully unaware the UK was in the EU at all, hence their suggested change. The second amendment, to Commission an impact assessment on the consequences of an EU exit, seems harmless enough but will not really settle anything as any impact assesment will become the subject of the dispute. In any event legislation is not required. So perhaps the Commons could accept this one aswell?

Or would it be better to reject the amendments and use the Parliament Act in the next session as we looked at here?

Regardless, this is a setback to the Conservatives, who will take comfort from the political advantage to be made from telling the public that - in their view - Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband do not trust them.


Clive MacDonald said...

Is there any point in someone who is unaware that the UK is in the EU voting on this matter?

Anonymous said...

Our political parties are turning our democratic right and process into a laughing stock.

MPs and Lords - all we want is a simple vote! What is wrong with that?

It is now time that we reviewed the functioning of the House of Lords. There was a time when it was a worthwhile safety valve for the nation but it has now been hi-jacked for petty party politics by people who should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

We need a Court of the Star Chamber to deal with them.


Rik said...

Imho this goes absolutely great for Cameron.
It simply gives him the opportunity to bring this whole discussion up again relatively short before the next election.

With 2 huge positives:
-Labour will look like against a referendum (something probably 70-80% of the UK electorate wants). Labour will be in the spotlight of doing all sort of backroom political stuff (just look in the US how popular Congress has gotten because of that). Mr Ed will be seen by the general public as the face of all this. Nobody buys it is a Lord's solotour.
-Cameron can make this as a real issue for the next election. Tories referendum (and in electiontime they can make realistic hard promises for if they get reelected. The we will not govern without it stuff); Labour not.

It looks like a great strategy to start dumping all the real manure on Mr Ed (spotlight his total lack of vision and movin g all over the place on all important subjects) not too far from the election. No successor in sight plus impossible to replace when elections are close.
Combined with going for the strategic/tactical (take your pick) IP voter. A vote for IP is is a vote for Mr Ed and a vote for no referendum.

The thing itself is a bit of bogus at this stage. But imho Cameron did great by supporting it. And Labour went for it they are even digging themselves deeper in. Digging themselves in in a totally unpopular and a large part of the vote determining position.
What more can Cameron ask?

This is about winning the war (or better wars (reelection and reneg result) not winning one single isolated battle (like the referendum bill especially at this time).

Rik said...

Btw Mr Ed not Mr David. Probably he donot trust the public as well but that is another issue.

Anonymous said...

"Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU"

The answer which is what? YES UK should remain and YES it should leave. NO it should not remain and NO it should not leave.

Anonymous said...

The referendum Bill was never alive, from the start there was no reason to make it a private members Bill, the house of lords are doing exactly what comoron a dyed in the wool europhile wanted, this is so that he can lie that if the tories get elected we will get a referendum that he has no intention of giving us.

christina speight said...

This whole charade is a futile waste of time. There is NO WAY that Cameron will be able to present any issues to put before the public at such a referendum AND HE KNOWS IT. There is NO RULE which permits any renegotiation at all except for those planning to use Artivle 50 having stated their intention to quit the EU. Cameron will never do this - he's said so! AND he's said that no government led by him will recommend any move to quit the EU.

The whole thing is a waste of time, an utter farce and Open Europe shouldn't waste its efforts - but then, of course, OE doesn't want to quit either.

We are being stitched up with OE, Fresh Start, and half the City making sceptic noises but refusing to take the plunge and be rid of the evil.

christhai said...

No the UK Referendum is still on track, but the flag is being carried for the British people, by UKIP.

christhai said...

UKIP is the only Party in the UK trusted to gain freedom from the EU.

Anonymous said...

@ christina speight

The great thing about farces is that everyone in the audience - with a few easily recognised exceptions - knows that what they are watching is a farce and are simply enjoying the show.

This is especially true if it is a repeat performance.

Anonymous said...

It looks like it is UKIP then and failing that civil unrest and/or civil war.

At some point the responsible political classes need to face a Commission of Truth, and if found to be guilty, strung up.