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EU Referendum Bill – the next steps

Dods Monitoring | Dods Monitoring

2 min read Partner content

Ahead of the committee stage of the EU Referendum Bill, Dods Monitoring look at the legislation and points of contention behind the most talked about piece of legislation from the Queen’s Speech.

The Houses of Parliament and the UK finally has an indication of when they will have a say on European membership. Despite waiting forty years, the electorate must wait another two and a half years (at most), before a referendum is held. Whilst the fight to reform the EU continues with Prime Minister David Cameron's European tour, it is questionable whether he has the political capital and might to deliver such change, and whether the rest of Europe has the appetite to support him.

Between now and then MPs and Peers will fight over the technical nature of the Bill and the controversial elements the headline hides. MPs from both sides and all parties have already made cases for changes to the Bill; Labour and the Scottish National Party would like to see 16 and 17 years olds entrusted with the vote, whilst Alex Salmond has indicated the SNP want to go further and amend the entire franchise, to allow EU nationals living in the UK the right to vote.

Many Conservatives have also supported amending the Bill to introduce strict guidelines on financial donations and campaign finance, a move seen to demonstrate a fear that David Cameron could encourage big businesses to bankroll the 'Yes' campaign and solicit contributions from multinational corporations based in Europe, those with most to lose in the case of 'Brexit'. Other Conservatives have complained about Cameron's questionable action on purdah, a move they see as an attempt to harness the resource of the civil service during the campaign. He has already conceded on one issue his party has highlighted; namely not holding the referendum on 5 May 2016, although has refused to rule out a vote in May 2017. How Cameron handles the many sub-groups within his party will be fascinating to watch and will leave a lasting legacy on British and European politics.

This briefing , produced by Dods Monitoring's Chris Fairbank and Padraig Carroll, looks at the key measures within the Bill, the controversies, the next steps and key dates to look out for, and how many stakeholders and businesses have aligned themselves thus far. Also included is the knowledge and insight from political consultants in Dods' Brussels, Paris and Berlin teams, looking at the impact the passing of such legislation has had there.

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