The Petition of the people of Croydon,
Declares that there should be a referendum on European Union membership.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call a referendum on EU membership at the same time as the next General Election.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Andrew Pelling, Official Report, 24 March 2010; Vol. 508, c. 348.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:
The Petition of the people of Croydon declares that there should be a referendum on European Union membership and requests that the House of Commons urges the Government to call a referendum on EU membership at the same time as the next General Election.
The Government do not plan to hold a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU. However, we are determined to maximise democratic and Parliamentary control over EU decision making. We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future Treaty that transferred areas of power or competences from the UK to the EU would be subject to a referendum before the UK could ratify that Treaty. We will also ensure that any decision by a future Government to join the euro would be subject to a referendum, though we have agreed not to join or to prepare to join the euro in this Parliament. We have also agreed that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers from the UK to the EU over the course of the next Parliament.
We will amend the 1972 Act to ensure that the use of any clauses which allow the powers of the EU to expand in future without a new Treaty—sometimes known as passerelle or ratchet clauses—would require primary legislation. Any use of a major ratchet clause which amounted to the transfer of an area of power to the EU will also be subject to a referendum. We will examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament.
All of this will ensure that there will be no extension of the EU’s power over the UK without the British people's consent. The UK will continue to be a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.