David Cameron vows to continue fight for EU referendum after Lords block bill

Conservatives will bypass Lords using Parliament Act 'if necessary'

David Cameron has vowed to continue the fight for a referendum on the EU after the Tories’ bill was killed off in the House of Lords.

The Conservative Party branded Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers who voted against the EU (Referendum) Bill “enemies of democracy”.

Its passage through Parliament was ended when Lords voted by 180 to 130 to end the debate at the committee stage.

Although it could resume next week, it is now impossible for the Bill to become law with only one sitting Friday left in the Commons.

In an email to supporters last night, the Prime Minister vowed to try again in the final parliamentary session before the 2015 elections.

“We are not going to give up in our efforts to turn our referendum commitment into law. Far from it,” he said.

“After all, we succeeded in passing it through the House of Commons - a huge achievement.

“We are going to try to reintroduce the same bill in the next session of Parliament.”

He said voting in a Conservative government next year was the one way to guarantee a referendum.

The Tory press office lambasted Labour and the Liberal Democrats for "treating the public with contempt" by voting against the referendum.

Mr Cameron could use the Parliament Act stop the House of Lords blocking the bill again and force it through regardless of resistance.

The Prime Minister has been accused of pandering to eurosceptic elements of his party with the referendum and bowing to the increasing popularity of Ukip.

Nigel Farage's party is expected to capitalise if the Conservatives’ attempts are defeated again before the General Election.

If approved, the Wharton Bill would have enshrined in law the Prime Minister’s promised in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in 2017.

Mr Cameron has also stated his intentions to renegotiate EU treaties to restrict free movement of workers and restore unspecified powers to the UK from Brussels.

Editorial: David Cameron wants his own way within the European Union. Alas for him, other leaders might call his bluff
 

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