View more on these topics

Lords committee urges greater transparency on EU vote


An influential House of Lords committee is calling on the Government to be more transparent about the process of EU reform ahead of the forthcoming referendum.

Prime Minister David Cameron has committed to a vote on the UK’s EU membership before the end of 2017, but faces calls to accelerate the process.

The House of Lords EU committee is now calling on the Government to provide greater transparency to both Parliament and the broader public on its reform process.

It says: “We understand that the sensitivities of the process mean that the Government is unwilling to provide Parliament with a running commentary on the negotiations.

“Yet the opposite extreme of presenting Parliament with a fait accompli is equally undesirable, and could give rise to legitimate concerns about the accountability and transparency of both the process itself, and its outcome. It could also help the Government to be open with Parliament (and also the general public) about the progress of negotiations.”

The committee has also demanded the Prime Minister schedule a referendum before the UK is due to take over presidency of the European Union council in July 2017.

In a report published today, the committee says the Government appears to be keen on holding the vote by autumn 2016 at the latest.

It says: “We support the Government’s efforts to ensure that the referendum takes place as soon as possible, in order to minimise uncertainty for citizens, financial markets, businesses and other stakeholders in the UK and across the EU.

“The UK presidency of the council scheduled for the second half of 2017 makes the arguments for an earlier referendum all the stronger.

“To stage a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU while it holds the presidency would not only be highly undesirable, but also so difficult as to be practically impossible. It would be an insuperable distraction from any presidency policy priorities that the UK sought to set out.”

The committee adds that if it were to become clear that the UK would be unable to stage its referendum before acceding to the council presidency, it should request another member state takes the position from July next year.

The presidency of the council is decided on a rota basis, with member states taking on the role for six months at a time.



SNP threatens second independence vote

The Scottish National Party has warned it will push for another independence referendum if more powers are not devolved to Scotland. In an interview with the Financial Times, SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie said there was a risk of another ballot if Westminster failed to go further than the devolution measures already set out. MPs […]


Labour’s Andy Burnham: Bring forward EU vote to 2016

A UK referendum on EU membership must be brought forward to 2016, according to Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham. Shadow health secretary Burnham, who is one of four candidates running for Labour’s leadership following the resignation of Ed Miliband, described himself as staunchly pro-Europe, and pledged to embrace public desire for a vote. David Cameron’s […]


Tories want to bring forward EU vote

A Conservative government could hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union earlier than the proposed date of 2017, says Prime Minister David Cameron. According to the Telegraph, Cameron says it could be possible to call the vote ahead of schedule providing negotiations to change the EU treaty go to plan. Speaking on […]


Carney: EU referendum needed ‘as soon as necessary’

Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the UK should hold a referendum on its membership of the EU “as soon as necessary”. Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday, Carney said: “We talk to a lot of bosses and there has been uncertainty, whether it’s for the election or the referendum.” He said businesses […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. July 2016 or 2017?

Leave a comment