11 Jan 2014

Bill on EU referendum passes first reading in House of Lords

9:12 am on 11 January 2014

A private member's bill that would allow a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU in 2017 has cleared its first hurdle in the House of Lords.

The bill would enact PM David Cameron's pledge to hold an in/out referendum in 2017.

The BBC reports Conservative backbencher James Wharton stewarded the legislation successfully through its Commons stages, despite efforts by Labour and Liberal Democrats to delay its passage.

Peers on Friday approved the bill at second reading after a debate lasting nearly seven hours.

The bill now proceeds to more detailed scrutiny. If amended, the legislation would need to clear the Commons again by the end of February.

Even if the bill successfully becomes law, the BBC reports it does not guarantee a referendum in 2017 since no Parliament can bind its successor.