The Government has published legislation that will give British people a say on the UK’s EU membership.
Delivering on the Prime Minister’s commitment to give the British people a very simple choice on the UK’s membership of the EU, the EU Referendum Bill was introduced into Parliament today.
Contained within the Bill is the question that will be put to the electorate, as well as making clear the franchise for the referendum.
Voters will be asked: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?’
British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK will be eligible to vote as well as UK nationals resident overseas for less than 15 years.
The franchise for the referendum will be based on the General Election franchise, plus members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar.
This means that Irish, Maltese and Cypriots resident in the UK will get a vote, but other EU citizens won’t.
In line with the Prime Minister’s commitment, the Bill also confirms that the referendum will be held by 31 December 2017.
The Bill is being introduced 40 years after the last referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Ahead of the referendum, the Prime Minister will discuss with EU leaders how the UK can work with partners to reform the EU and renegotiate our relationship with it.