MPs vote for law promising EU referendum - but what happens next?
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Friday 05 July 2013
Although the European Union (Referendum) Bill easily cleared its first hurdle, that was the easy part.
It will now be considered by a committee of MPs, giving Labour opponents a chance to sabotage it during a game of parliamentary cat and mouse.
Labour is expected to table lots of amendments. Crucially, it is a backbench rather than government measure because the Liberal Democrats do not want to enshrine a referendum in law. So it will have a limited amount of parliamentary time.
Opponents will have another chance to talk out the Bill when it reaches its report stage in the autumn. Even if it survived that and won a third reading, it would be unlikely to secure the approval of the House of Lords, where again time would be limited.
In the unlikely event that it becomes law, that would still not guarantee a 2017 referendum. No parliament can bind its successor and a Labour Government, or Lib-Lab coalition, could overturn it. Politically, however, it would be difficult to deny the public a say.
- 1 Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 4 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
Priest warns pupils the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' is 'demonic activity'
'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
Fifa corruption arrests: Sepp Blatter 'quite relaxed' and confident he is 'not involved'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A multi-skilled engineer with a...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...