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The Referendum Lock Act 1995
#1
The Referendum Lock Act 1995

An Act to protect the sovereignty of the people of the United Kingdom and to ensure that they are given the final say on the transfer of any further powers to the European Union


Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


Section 1: Basic provisions

1. Any transfer of powers over and above those already given to the European Union, will require the consent of the people of the United Kingdom via a confirmatory referendum

2. 2. For the purpose of this Act, a transfer of powers is defined as a major change in the United Kingdom’s obligations with the European Union which requires either the ratification of new treaties, or major amendments to the text of existing treaties

3. The transfer of powers relating to economic and monetary union are fully within the scope of this Act

4. Minor changes to existing agreements which do not require treaty ratification and do not involve the major transfer of powers are excluded and remain within the purview of normal government and Parliamentary process

5. This legislation applies only to agreement and treaties with the European Union and not to the same with any other country or international body


Section 2: Process

1. The government (Executive) shall be responsible for negotiating the terms and text of any new treaty or agreement with the European Union; nothing in this Act shall prevent the government from negotiation or entering into dialogue with the European Union

2. Once the negotiations are complete and the treaty or agreement is finalized, the government will lay the terms before Parliament for scrutiny and the first stage of ratification in the usual way and following all existing laws

3. If Parliament approves the terms, the matter shall then be put to the people in a confirmatory referendum, but the treaty will not be ratified until and unless asset from the people is received

4. If Parliament rejects the terms, the matter will return to the government (Executive) for further negotiation and revision with the European Union or, should the government (Executive) choose, the treaty or agreement will be considered not ratified and the matter will be closed

5. If assent from the people is received, the government (Executive) will approve and ratify the treaty in accordance with the law, including creating any necessary legislation for its enforcement and application

6. If assent from the people is not granted, the matter will return to the government (Executive) for further negotiation and revision with the European Union or, should the government (Executive) choose, the treaty or agreement will be considered not ratified and the matter will be closed

7. If the government decides to renegotiate following the denial of assent in a referendum, it must follow the same process as outlined in this section for future ratification

8. In no case may the same, unamended treaty – or an insignificantly different version of the same – be presented back to the people for another vote until a period of at least twenty-four months from the date of the first referendum has passed


Section 3: The referendum

1. The date of any referendum will be determined by the government (Executive)

2. The question to appear on the ballot will be determined by the government (Executive) in consultation with the Electoral Commission

3. Those entitled to vote in the referendum are those persons who, on the date of the referendum, would be entitled to vote as electors at a parliamentary election in any constituency

4. The referendum shall be subject to standard electoral rules, as determined by the Electoral Commission and prevailing law

5. Parliament will confirm and formalize the details of the referendum, including the question to be put and the date, via appropriate legislation

6. The outcome of the referendum will be determined by simple majority

7. The result of the referendum will be legally binding on the government and on Parliament


Section 4: Enactment

1. The provisions of this Act to become law on approval of Her Majesty The Queen.
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Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Reply
#2
Madam Speaker

I am presenting this bill in order to ensure that the people of the United Kingdom are given a full and free say in any future transfer of authority to the European Union.

The powers enjoyed by this House are not ours. They are merely on loan to us from the people. We have no right to give those powers away or to cede them to another body without the express agreement of those we represent.

For far too long there has been a gradual erosion of sovereignty to the European Union. Ancient and historic powers along with the rights they represent have been leached away from this country without proper consent. That must come to an end.

This legislation does not prevent further integration with the European Union, nor does it harm our ability to sign future treaties. However, it puts the final decision over such momentous changes where it belongs: with the people. 

I hope that the government will be supportive of this bill and I urge its smooth passage through this House.
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Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Reply
#3
Madam speaker,

Time will be allocated for debate
Reply
#4
Order! The bill will be read a second time
Reply
#5
Madam Speaker,

I very much appreciate the Government's change of tack on this important bill. While it is true that in order to be a part of Europe, our country has to agree to some common policies with the other countries in Europe, nonetheless we must be very cautious in giving up any more of our sovereignty and freedom of action to Europe. The most legitimate way that we can approach Europe is to make sure that the people are directly consulted via referendum. This bill has my full support.
Max Power, Labour
MP for Oxford East (1987-present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary (1994-present)
Reply
#6
Madam Speaker

I am grateful that the government has made time for this bill.

I am also delighted that the Shadow Foreign Secretary has been able to lend his support, which is most welcome.

As I noted in my introductory remarks this legislation only applies to future treaty changes with the European Union. Moreover, nothing prevents new arrangements being made with our European partners and friends. What the bill provides for, however, is a proper consultation of the British people. They get the final say on the future ceding of sovereignty.

Generally, I believe that our relations with the European Union are positive and worthwhile. However, we have now reached a stage where the balance of power is finely balanced between the sovereignty and rights of our nation and those of the EU. It is clear that some in Europe would like that balance to shift further in their favor.  That is why this legislation is necessary; it acts as a protection for the British people to whom those power and rights ultimately belong.
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Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Reply
#7
Madam Speaker,

I move that Section 1, 2. be amended to read:

2. For the purpose of this Act, a transfer of powers is defined as a major change in the United Kingdom’s obligations with the European Union which requires either the ratification of new treaties, or major amendments to the text of existing treaties, new protocols and/or major new agreements

I ask the sponsor to consider these amendments as friendly, and that they be incorporated into the bill to provide greater clarity as to the application of this bill.
Lewis Graves
Conservative MP for Salisbury (1983-present)
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1994-present)
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1994)
(Recks)
Reply
#8
Madam Speaker

I thank my Right Honorable Friend for his suggestions.

I accept these amendments as friendly.
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Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Reply
#9
DIVISION! Clear the Lobbies!
Reply
#10
AYE
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Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Reply


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