Prime Minister David Cameron has made another U-turn on the EU referendum, backing down on his initial refusal to impose a period of purdah in the run-up to an in/out vote. Cameron has come under increasing pressure from Tory backbenchers who said that “purdah” – a pre-referendum campaign period – would ensure the fairness of a referendum. In June, more than two dozen Tories rebelled by voting against an early draft of the EU referendum bill that made no provisions for purdah. Over the weekend, it was reported that the rebels were gaining support and planning to vote against the Prime Minister again when parliament resumes next week. And yesterday, the government was understood to be getting ready to table changes to the bill in order to avoid another rebellion. Downing Street’s switch came just one day after Cameron bowed to pressure to change the wording of the EU referendum question after the elections watchdog said yesterday that the question currently included in the legislation could be seen as biased against Britain leaving the EU. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said the question would be changed to reflect the Electoral Commission’s recommendations.
Thursday 3 September 2015 5:06 am
Prime Minister takes another U-turn on EU referendum bill