The Draft European Union (Referendum) Bill that has been published does not guarantee a fair referendum, says UKIP Chairman Steve Crowther.
“While we strongly welcome the Government’s commitment in the Queen’s Speech to an In-Out referendum, the Bill outlines the question to be asked, which skews the referendum in favour of a ‘stay-in’ position by giving the Europhiles the ‘Yes’ answer – regardless of what concessions the Prime Minister manages to negotiate.
“But more importantly, it fails to mandate a period of ‘purdah’, normal in elections, to prevent the government from making announcements in the run-up which might affect the result.
“With no guarantee from the Government that they will set and enforce fair and equal spending limits, this omission leaves the door open for the government or indeed the European Union’s agencies to make ever more appealing announcements, right up to polling day, to ‘nudge’ people towards a vote to stay in.
“The people have waited 40 years for this opportunity and they must be given a free, fair and open choice to decide whether we stay in the EU, or reclaim our ability to govern ourselves. The government will not be forgiven if they play tricks with it.”