Referendum lock

Kiran Stacey

William HagueLast night the government lost a crucial amendment to their Europe bill in the Lords by a handful of votes.

Peers voted to introduce a “sunset clause” on the entire bill (actually, the entire bill apart from one technical point), which would limit it to only five years. Importantly, this means that the so-called “referendum lock” – whereby any transfer of sovereignty from London to Brussels could only be allowed after a Yes vote in a referendum – would have to be voted on again in five years’ time.