Page last updated at 21:44 GMT, Tuesday, 1 February 2011

European Union Bill

Tory backbencher Peter Bone has urged the government to hold a referendum on whether the UK stays in the EU if voters reject any further transfer of powers from Westminster to Brussels.

The government's European Union Bill forces a national referendum on any EU treaty changes deemed by ministers to be a "significant" transfer of powers.

On 1 February 2011, during the fifth day of debate at committee stage on the legislation, Mr Bone called on MPs to support his proposal, which would trigger a second referendum if the public voted "no" in a in a plebiscite triggered by the bill.

Mr Bone explained: "If this new clause is passed there would have to be binding in/out referendum on our membership of the European Union if two hurdles are cleared.

"One: a referendum is triggered under the European Union Bill due to a proposed transfer of competency.

"Two: and the British people vote against such a transfer of power."

Labour former minister Kate Hoey, a supporter of Mr Bone's new clause, said the "establishment" parties "do not want the British people to have a say on whether to stay in or move out of the European Union".

But Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg declared that he opposed Mr Bone's proposal, arguing that it was "confusing and mistaken".

The move was defeated by 295 votes to 26, a government majority of 269.

The legislation would apply UK-wide.


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