U.K. Parliament to Debate Tory EU Referendum Bill Again

The U.K. Parliament will be asked again to decide if the holding of a referendum on European Union membership by the end of 2017 should be enshrined in law.

Bob Neill, a lawmaker for Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party, was one of the winners in a draw among members of the House of Commons from all parties to decide which of them should be allowed to introduce legislation. He said he’ll revive a bill guaranteeing a referendum that a Tory colleague, James Wharton, failed to get through Parliament earlier this year.

“Britain needs a new deal with Europe and the Conservatives have a plan for change in Europe –- renegotiate, reform and put the deal to the British people in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017,” Neill said in an e-mailed statement today. “Parliament now has the chance to pass my backbench bill and guarantee that the British people have the final say.”

Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and hold a popular vote if his party wins next year’s general election. He backed Wharton’s bill, though it couldn’t be put forward as government legislation as it’s opposed by the Liberal Democrats, the Tories’ junior coalition partners. The Conservatives don’t have enough lawmakers of their own to gain approval for the bill.

The opposition Labour Party also opposes the proposed legislation, which it says is about Cameron placating anti-Europeans in his own party rather than serving the national interest.

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