MPs overwhelmingly vote to pass EU referendum bill through second reading

MPs have voted to pass Conservative MP James Wharton's private member's bill mandating an in-out EU referendum before 2017 through its second reading after a long and heated debate. The bill passed by 304 votes to zero (having passed 305-30 on the closure motion).

The vote was the bill's first test in parliament. It will now go in front of a Committee, probably on 17 July. If it makes it through this stage quickly before its is overtaken by other private members' bills and timed out, it will then enter the Report stage on 8 November. It's here that it will be subject to detailed scrutiny and probable derailing by its opponents. The Speaker is able to group together amendments intended to drown the Bill out, but Wharton will be limited to two closure votes. It would then head for its closing stages a week later.

The question on the ballot paper would be: 'Do you think that the United Kingdom should be a member of the European Union?