HL Deb 10 December 2003 vol 655 cc72-3WA
Baroness Wilkins

asked Her Majesty's Government: When they will publish a draft Bill on the mechanics of running a referendum on the single European currency. [HL324]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin)

My department has today published, as Cm 6081, a draft Single European Currency (Referendum) Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a commitment to Parliament in June 2003 that a draft Bill would be published later this year.

This draft Bill sets out the Government's thinking on the terms on which any referendum on the European single currency would be held, subject to the five economic tests being met. This shows the Government's commitment to openness and transparency. Both the question and who would be able to vote in any referendum, if the five economic tests had been met, are set out in the draft Bill.

The Government will report on the progress of the reform agenda in the Budget next year. The Government can then consider the extent of progress and determine whether, on the basis of it, they make a further Treasury assessment of the five tests, which if positive next year would allow them at that time to put the issue before the electorate in a referendum.