European Union Referendum Bill — Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:54 am on 13th October 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat 11:54 am, 13th October 2015

My Lords, it is with some regret that I stand here opening for the Liberal Democrat Benches this morning as my noble friend Lady Ludford is not able to be with us for personal reasons. We send her and her husband good wishes.

It is also somewhat with regret that I participate in this debate at all. The Minister said she was delighted to open this debate bringing forward the Government’s proposals to hold a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union. As a committed pro-European who joined a pro-European party more than 30 years ago, and believed that the question of Britain’s membership of the European Union had been resolved while I was still a child, it is somewhat demoralising to think that the question is being reopened, and that somehow a major constitutional issue which should have been resolved in 1975 is back on the drawing board.