The referendum forms a key part of David Cameron’s election manifesto and would give people the chance to vote on membership of the European Union. But it looks set to stall in the Lords as any amendments added would cause it to run out of time and miss the last slot available to be debated again in the House of Commons.
Wharton said that stalling the bill would be an unforgivable political move. “The British people have been denied their say on our membership of the EU and its predecessor organisations for 40 years. They will not forgive Labour and the Liberal Democrats if they try to scupper this bill because they don’t trust the British people,” he said. Cameron told MPs in December that he would be prepared to use the Parliament Act, often dubbed the nuclear option, to get the bill through the Lords in time; but he could only do this if a new version of the bill was introduced later in the year.