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UK’s Relationship with the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 2nd February 2016.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe 12:36 pm, 2nd February 2016

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the referendum Bill was amended in this House to make it impossible for the referendum to be held on the same day as the elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and English local authorities. His right hon. Friend and foreign affairs spokesman, Alex Salmond, has been pressing in this House recently for a six-week quarantine period between the Scottish election date and a referendum being held. Clearly, we take seriously the right hon. Gentleman’s views as the SNP’s official spokesman on foreign affairs, but no decision has been taken about a referendum date, not least because we do not yet have a deal and we will not know whether we do have one until, at the earliest, the February European Council. At the end of the day, it will be a decision for the House, because the referendum date will be set by statutory instrument subject to affirmative resolution.