Page last updated at 22:01 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

European Union Bill part two

Legislation intended to provide a "referendum lock" on further transfers of power from the UK to the EU should be exempted from the Parliament Act to make it harder to repeal in future, a Tory MP has argued.

As MPs debated the government's European Union Bill on 8 March 2011, Jacob Rees-Mogg explained that his amendment would prevent future governments from forcing a repeal of the bill through the House of Lords.

The bill means that there will be a national referendum on any power transfer judged by ministers to be "significant".

The MP for North East Somerset told MPs: "As the whole purpose of this bill is to protect the rights of the British people from further Europeanisation, it is therefore extremely sensible that it should be exempted from the Parliament Act to strengthen it."

But Europe Minister David Lidington said: "I have concerns about the impact that the proposed amendment would have on the long-standing relationship between this House and the House of Lords.

"The proposed amendment would alter this relationship by expanding the relative powers of the House of Lords. It has not ever been part of the government's intentions for this bill to use this legislation in order to alter that relationship."

As MPs concluded report stage debate on the bill and began third reading, Foreign Secretary William Hague told MPs that the bill was a "significant and radical overhaul" of how decisions on Europe were made.

He argued: "It's an overhaul that is as profoundly needed as it is overdue and it marks a real shift in power from ministers to Parliament, and from both ministers and Parliament to the voters themselves."

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told MPs that "not everything in this bill is bad, though nothing in it is particularly good".

At the end of the debate, MPs passed the bill without a vote.

Watch part one of the debate here.


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