Committee reports that EU Bill could pose significant challenge to UK Constitution

17 March 2011

The House of Lords Constitution Committee warns that the EU Bill represents a radical step-change for the UK in adopting referendum provisions on such a large scale. This is inconsistent with the Government’s statement that referendums are most appropriately used to decide fundamental constitutional issues.

The Committee noted that the referendum provisions are unlikely to be used because the Government has said that it does not intend to use them during this parliament.

The Committee also stresses that the controversial 'sovereignty clause', which declares that EU law only takes effect in the UK by virtue of an Act of Parliament, does not change the law.

Commenting on the Bill, the Committee's Chairman, Baroness Jay of Paddington, said

"The short-term effect of the Bill is likely to be minimal, but in the long-term it could pose a significant challenge to the UK's constitutional settlement. I hope my committee's report helps to make sure that the Bill is carefully considered".

Further information

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