House of Lords warned not to 'ignore the public's wishes' on EU referendum debate
Friday 10 January 2014
The House of Lords has been warned that it would be “ignoring” the wishes of ordinary people if it blocks a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.
Peers are debating the Conservatives’ bid to lay down in law a public vote on membership.
James Wharton, the Tory MP for Stockton South who steered the Bill through the Commons, said: “It is extremely important that the House of Lords recognise that this Bill, which has been passed through every stage of the democratically-elected House of Commons, needs to pass in order to give the British people a say on this very important issue.
"It would be strange indeed for the unelected House of Lords to block a Bill which is to legislate for a referendum.”
Voting against the referendum would put peers in a “very difficult position”, he added.
Speaking in the debate, former Thatcher minister Lord Crickhowell said: “Are we to add to the despair that exists about the political system?
“Are we going to block the wishes of ordinary people who want certainty that their views will be heard?"
The legislation would make a much discussed “in-out referendum” possible in 2017, although the result would not have to be legally binding.
But David Cameron has come under fire from critics for pandering to eurosceptics within the Conservatives and the rising pressure from UKIP.
Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock said: "To the detriment of our country he has pranced to their rhythm.”
He argued the referendum could cause “potentially huge” risks and costs for a government yet to be elected.
Lord Hannay of Chiswick claimed 2017 was a flawed time for the vote, clashing with Britain's presidency of the EU and French and German elections.
Labour’s Lord Mandelson said leaving Europe would “simply create more alienation and disillusion” among the public and that reform in Brussels was a better solution.
He added: “Having been a member of the European Commission, I think I can talk with some experience about the need for change in the European Union.”
UKIP peer Lord Willoughby de Broke urged the Lords to support the referendum to “throw off the shackles of the EU and to be a truly free nation”.
It is customary in the House of Lords for Bills agreed by MPs to be given a second reading and amendments at this stage are rare.
It must next go through the committee, report and third reading stages before going back to MPs.
Additional reporting by Press Association
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Isis 'A Message in Blood' video shows beheading of Kurdish man in Iraq
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...