James Brokenshire has said that the publication of draft legislation "puts beyond doubt" a Conservative commitment to hold a referendum on the EU after the next General Election. The draft Bill once put into law would put Britain's continued membership of the EU to a simple public vote.
David Cameron has made clear that if he is Prime Minister, there will be an in-out referendum in the next Parliament. In the meantime the Prime Minister has committed to negotiate a new settlement in the EU so that this can be put to the British people in the referendum.
The draft bill would legislate for an in-out referendum by the end of 2017. Opportunities to bring the bill before Parliament are being examined, including introducing the draft legislation through a private members' bill.
Commenting James Brokenshire said:
"There is growing disillusionment with the EU and few people are happy with the current situation. That's why I think we should negotiate a new settlement with Europe and then put this to the public.
"The publication of draft legislation to enable a simple in-out referendum is a significant step forward. It puts beyond doubt the commitment to hold a public vote on Europe if there is a Conservative government after the next General Election."