Clause 8 — Commencement

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 1:15 pm on 5th March 2008.

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Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Foreign Secretary 1:15 pm, 5th March 2008

This important debate raises fundamental questions about our parliamentary democracy, and about the role of Parliament and its relationship with the people. In our system of government, we do not have a legal test for whether we should hold a referendum, but we do have a clear principle, based on precedent and for many years supported by all the main political parties. Where there is a shift in power of a fundamental nature, it must be put to the people. That is the question that I want to address today. However,

"every time we have such a referendum it is, in a sense, an abdication of responsibility by the House and the Government of the day. This Government intend to make no such abdication of their responsibilities; nor do they intend to invite the House to abdicate from its responsibility."—[ Hansard, 21 February 1992; Vol. 204, c. 627.]