EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (2024)

15 May 201317.44EDT

We're wrapping up this live blog. Here's a summary of today's developments.

  • 114 Conservative MPs have backed a rebel amendment to the Queen's Speech "expressing regret" that an EU referendum bill was not included in the government's agenda for the coming year.
  • Eurosceptic Tories forced the vote in a bid to ensure David Cameron kept his pledge for a referendum in 2017.
  • Tory ministers abstained but the amendment was defeated by 277 votes to 130 as the Lib Dems and Labour opposed it.
  • Cameron claimed he was "relaxed" about the prospect a Tory rebellion but Labour said it "devastating blow" to his authority.

Thanks for reading and for your comments below.

15 May 201317.04EDT

William Hague tried to downplay the significance of the rebellion.

The foreign secretary told Sky News:

Conservative MPs were able to vote for it or they were able to abstain, entirely their choice.
I think the whole party, of course, would like to be able to proceed with legislation on this subject, we can't because we are in a Coalition.
When all the dust settles on this there is one essential fact, one party, the Conservative Party, is committed to a referendum on leaving or staying in the European Union and the other parties are not committed to that.

15 May 201315.58EDT

Labour shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander claimed the vote was "a further devastating blow to the prime minister's authority."

He said:

It demonstrates that David Cameron has managed to turn a Europe issue into a leadership issue. This is a prime minister who has lost control of the agenda and tonight lost control of his party.
David Cameron's backbenchers have shown they simply won't give up until he gives in.
The real risk is that he spends the coming month trying to get his party back in line, instead of focusing on getting our economy back on track.

15 May 201315.31EDT

Peter Bone says the vote shows that the Tories want an EU referendum.

He told the BBC:

No Conservative voted against the amendment, many Labour MPs voted for it. This is not a rebellion, this is a free vote. In fact, to a certain extent, the prime minister was encouraging us to vote for the amendment because, after all, it's his own policy.

15 May 201315.10EDT

There were gasps in the Commons as the number of MPs to vote for Baron's amendment was announced, PA reports.

There had been reports during the day that the number of MPs prepared to vote for the amendment had dropped off after the promise to introduce a draft EU referendum Bill following tomorrow's Private Members' Ballot.
Baron had pledged to stick with his amendment despite being unable to get 100 MPs to sign it. But in the end far more than 100 voted in favour of the amendment.

Despite Cameron offering the concession of a free vote to backbenchers and government aides, the backbench rebellion is likely to be seen as the most significant October 2011 when 111 MPs, around 80 of them Conservative, revolted over Europe in a bid to exert pressure for an in/out referendum.

15 May 201314.38EDT

Evening summary

More than 100 Tories seem to have voted for an amendment calling for an EU referendum bill. The exact figures should be in soon, but it seems inevitable that the total will be larger than the 81 Tories who voted for a referendum in a key vote in October 2011. Technically this is not a rebellion. But it looks and feels like one, because - as loyalists like Nick Soames have pointed out - by voting for the amendment Tories were implying that they did not trust David Cameron to deliver a referendum.

Cameron has criticised Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband over Europe, saying they are sticking their heads in the sand by claiming Britain should accept everything that emerges from the EU.

Cameron has rejected a suggestion from Nadine Dorries that she should be allowed to stand on a joint Conservative/Ukip ticket at the next election. (See 6.49pm)

Lord Lawson, the Conservative former chancellor, has told peers that he does not think Cameron will be able to achieve the substantial EU renegotiation he hopes to achieve.

I do not believe it will be possible for the prime minister to secure the fundamental changes that he seeks. It will certainly not be possible if it is thought that at the end of the day he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Harold Wilson and recommend an In vote, however inconsequential his renegotiation proves to be.

I've got to go now, but a colleague will be topping up the blog as the full voting figures, including the division lists, come in.

Thanks for the comments.

15 May 201314.32EDT

Whips suggesting as many as 110 Conservative MPs backing EU referendum amendment.

— James Kirkup (@jameskirkup) May 15, 2013

15 May 201314.31EDT

The "rebels" secured 130 votes. But "the government" got 277 votes, meaning "the government" (most of whose members were not supporting it) had a majority of 147.

15 May 201314.29EDT

News from the lobbies.

Didn't see a single Tory in the No lobby but lots in the Aye #toryrebellion

— Angela Eagle (@angelaeagle) May 15, 2013

15 May 201314.21EDT

The Conservative MPs Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone are tellers for the "rebels" - those supporting the amendment.

Two Lib Dem MPs, Mark Hunter and Bob Russell, are tellers on the side of those opposing the amendment (the "government side" - but without most government MPs supporting it).

15 May 201314.18EDT

MPs are now voting on the EU referendum bill amendment, tabled by the Tory MP John Baron.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (1)

15 May 201314.16EDT

The government win the first vote by 329 votes to 244 - a majority of 85.

15 May 201314.13EDT

The vote on the EU referendum bill amendment is coming up soon. For various reasons, it is going to be a particularly odd vote.

Here are six reasons why it defies normal parliamentary logic.

1. David Cameron says he is relaxed about Tory MPs voting for an amendment criticising the Queen's speech - even though he has been taking steps to try to stop them voting for it.

2. Conservative ministers will not be voting for the amendment - even though, in calling for an EU referendum bill, it is simply asserting Conservative party policy.

3. Conservative ministers and Conservative backbenchers will be voting differently (some in favour of the amendment, some abstaining) - even though Cameron insists they want the same thing.

4. Actually voting against the amendment would probably be the most rebellious thing a Tory MP could do - even though normally government MPs are whipped to oppose amendments criticising the Queen's speech.

5. Labour MPs will be voting against the amendment - even though this means they are effectively voting to spare the government's Queen's speech from criticism.

6. Lib Dem MPs will be voting against the amendment - even though Nick Clegg told MPs at PMQs today that a future referendum on Europe was inevitable.

15 May 201314.01EDT

MPs are now voting on the Labour amendment to the Queen's speech motion. (See 3.08pm.)

For the record, here's the main motion they are trying to amend.

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as follows:

Most Gracious Sovereign,

We, Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

15 May 201313.49EDT

There were two main points in David Cameron's short news conference.

Cameron rejected Nadine Dorries's call for candidates like here to be allowed to stand on a joint Conservative/Ukip ticket.

The Conservative Party doesn't do pacts and deals. We are set to win the election outright. That is our aim and that what we will deliver.

He repeated his claim that he was "relaxed" about the prospect of Conservative MPs voting for an amendment criticising the Queen's speech.

I don't think people can read in anything really to the scale of that free vote. Not least because only the Conservative Party has a very clear position and a very clear policy about what needs to happen in Europe.

15 May 201313.41EDT

A Lib Dem aide has been in touch complaining about my post at 1.01pm saying that Nick Clegg was telling a couple of "whoppers" when he said the Lib Dems's stance on an EU referendum had not changed.

In particular, the aide said that I was wrong to say that the Lib Dems changed their stance between 2008 and 2010. In 2008 they wanted an in/out referendum linked to a specific big change in Britain's relationship with the EU (the Lisbon treaty), he said. And in 2010, with the Lisbon treaty ratified, they were saying that in future, in the event of big EU-related change, there should be an in/out referendum, he said. He said it was unfair of me to accuse Clegg of not telling the truth about this.

I will accept that there was continuity between the 2008 policy and the 2010 policy. Clegg offered an in/out referendum in 2008 in the context of Lisbon. (That's because the Tories were calling for a referendum on Lisbon v the status quo. Instead Clegg proposed Lisbon v EU withdrawal. Gordon Brown was offering no referendum at all.)

But I do not accept that the 2008 offer and the 2010 offer were the same. Clegg argued for an in/out referendum in 2008 on the grounds that many voters had never had the chance to have their say on Europe. Anyone who heard those arguments would have concluded that he was in favour of a referendum generally, not just one while the Lisbon treaty was in the process of being ratified. By 2010 the referendum offer had been kicked into the long grass, by being made conditional on future significant constitutional change.

(The aide did not say anything about my other complaint, which was that Clegg was saying that the in/in referendum promised by the "referendum lock" legislation was the same as the in/out one promised in his manifesto.)

15 May 201313.20EDT

Q: What will tonight's vote in the Commons show us?

Cameron says the votes will show the strong support for a really excellent Queen's speech, and an excellent government programme.

The vote on the amendment is one that government ministers should abstain on. For others, it is a free vote. He is very relaxed about that. Only the Tories are offering a referendum. People should focus on that.

Q: Is Nadine Dorries so poweful she can proposed a pact with Ukip?

The Conservative party does not do pacts, he says. It is fighting for an overall majority.

Q: Why are you not in favour of making reducting inequality a development goal?

Cameron say getting people out of poverty is the most important form of equality.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (2)

15 May 201313.15EDT

David Cameron is taking questions at a short news conference in New York.

15 May 201312.58EDT

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, has accused some of his coalition colleagues of damaging the national interest by talking up the prospect of Britain leaving the EU. This is what he has written in this week's New Statesman.

What the Conservatives haven’t understood is that Ukip’s new trick has not been to talk more about Europe but to talk less about Europe. Its recent focus is on immigration and crime. With the economy and jobs at the top of voters’ minds – and Europe low – the Tories are repeating their 2001 and 2005 mistakes . . .

People need to wake up. When cabinet ministers follow Tory grandees in backing withdrawal from the EU and when the Conservative Party votes against its own Queen’s Speech, stakes have risen. The best we now have from the Conservatives when it comes to pursuing our national interest in Europe is to threaten our partners with renegotiation and an “in or out” referendum, whatever is negotiated. It’s like a hostage-taker saying, “If you give me what I want, I still might shoot you.”

By talking up the prospects of withdrawal, the Tories are damaging our national interest, not strengthening it. And they are doing so on the false promise that it will help them win a general election. This is a clear case of putting party before country. Shame on them.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (3)

15 May 201312.51EDT

The Conservative party has said Nadine Dorries won't be allowed to stand on a joint Conservative/Ukip ticket. This is from a party spokesman.

This is not party policy and it's not going to happen.

15 May 201312.37EDT

Labour seems to be challenging David Cameron to deselect Nadine Dorries. Angela Eagle, the shadow leader of the Commons, has just put out this statement about Dorries's comments about standing on a joint Conservative/Ukip ticket. (See 3.19pm.)

Any Labour candidate who tried to stand on a joint ticket with UKIP would be auto-excluded from the Labour Party - it's as simple as that. For David Cameron to give the Conservative whip back to Nadine Dorries and then have her publicly considering standing for UKIP just a week later shows just how weak he is. He can't lead his MPs on Europe - but he's too weak to take action against them as well.

15 May 201312.27EDT

Gary Gibbon has sent me this update he's posted to the blog of his I flagged up earlier. (See 5.12pm.)

I hear that annoyance at the government trying to whip what is supposed to be a free, unwhipped vote is potentially running the tally of votes for the amendment up again.Some rebels are still saying they have "around 100." There were suggestions that the meeting of Tory backbenchers, the 1922 Committee, could turn into a moment for airing some of that anger.One PPS I spoke to who was angry with the "rebels" said he wanted to vote against the amendment and had been ordered by his whip not to do so. Lewis Carrol, thou should'st be living at this hour.

15 May 201312.12EDT

Here's an afternoon EU referendum bill vote reading list.

Gary Gibbon on his Channel 4 blog says the “rebellion” could only feature 60 or 70 Tories, not 100 as orginally expected, because the whips are persuading Mps to abstain.

Mark D'Arcy on his BBC blog says John Bercow's decision to allow three votes tonight, not two as expected, shows that he is deliberately adapting Commons rules to favour small parties, in recognition of the fact that two-party politics is breaking down.

Paul Goodman at ConservativeHome says some Tory Mps are “now raging with all the irrationality of a Shakespearian mob”.

James Forsyth at Coffee House says eight Tory MPs representing different Eurosceptic factions in the party met yesterday to discuss tactics.

Benedict Brogan on his blog says this controversy is about David Cameron's leadership.

This episode has been about his effectiveness as a leader and his ability to command those below him, and what that means for the party's prospects in 2015. I still hold that up until a fortnight or so ago Mr Cameron was advancing on vote-winning fronts: welfare, immigration, the economy (Ed Miliband will have noted that his friend Francois Hollande is celebrating his first year in office this morning with a triple dip recession). Dave's argument about Britain in a global race is coherent and a compelling one to put to the voters. But all that has been clouded by an internal argument that leaves an imprint on the voter's retina of a party of shouty, swivel-eyed fruits arguing about how many amendments can dance on the head of a pin. When Cabinet ministers are willing to announce that they won't defend the Government's programme, things are more serious than the glib optimism from No10 acknowledges.

15 May 201311.39EDT

This is from Sky's Jon Craig.

I hear William Hague is to make 11th-hour appeal to Tory MPs at 1922 Committee at 5pm not to vote for John Baron's EU referendum amendment.

— joncraigSKY (@joncraig) May 15, 2013

According to the Telegraph, there are some signs that the Tory "rebellion" - which Downing Street were telling was earlier wasn't actually a rebellion anyway (see 9.33am) - is fading.

15 May 201311.34EDT

As I said earlier, the Ed Balls/George Osborne exchanges at the start of the Queen's speech debate. Here are some extracts.

From Ed Balls

Downing Street claimed the speech took six months to formulate, it has taken just three [days] to unravel. Tory backbenchers in the week defying the prime minister to vote against the Queen's speech. Former Tory chancellors calling openly for Britain to leave the European Union, serving cabinet members during the course of the weekend saying that they would vote to leave the European Union now as well. The embarrassing spectacle and the truly ludicrous sight of a British Prime Minister in Washington negotiating an EU-US trade deal while back home members of his own cabinet say that they would vote to exclude Britain from the benefits of that trade deal.

This is really what it means for a prime minister to be in office but not in power. You know what, it is not John Major all over again, it is much worse than that. At least he tried to stand up to the Eurosceptics in his cabinet.

From George Osborne

The shadow chancellor mentioned France. Exactly a year ago the Labour leader couldn't contain his excitement about the economic programme being unveiled in France. His excitement at the red carpet being rolled out for him at the Elysee Palace. "Cher Camarades" is how he addressed the Socialist party gathering. He said: "What President Hollande is seeking to do in France, I want to do in Britain." We don't hear much more these days about Labour's French Connection, do we? We still have Liberte and Egalite, but not much Fraternite, although fraternity has never been a great topic for the Miliband family.

15 May 201310.55EDT

Ipsos MORI has published its monthly political monitor for May. It says support for Labour (based on those who say they are certain to vote - the measure Ipsos MORI uses for its headline figures) is at its lowest level since 2010.

The research also finds support for Labour, among all those certain to vote, at the lowest it has been since the 2010 General Election at 34%. However, this is due to a fall in the strength of support among Labour voters rather than a switch to other parties. Only 57% of Labour supporters say they are certain to vote at the next election (down six points over the month), compared to 67% of Conservatives, 68% of Liberal Democrats and 75% of UKIP supporters. Among all those naming a party, Labour is unchanged from April’s poll at 38%.

There is no significant change among support for the other parties, which means in the headline voting figures among all those certain to vote Labour hold a three point lead over the Conservatives who are on 31%. UKIP are still at historically high levels on 13%, above the Liberal Democrats on 10%. The Green Party are on 6% (their highest since September 2012).

The Ipsos MORI headline figures are:

Labour: 34% (down 4 from Ipsos MORI last month)

Conservatives: 31% (up 2)

Ukip: 13% (down 2)

Lib Dems: 10% (no change)

Labour lead: 3 points (down 6)

15 May 201310.45EDT

Yesterday Tory aides were saying that David Cameron had reached his "red line" on Europe. Having published the draft bill on a referendum, he was not going to give any more ground to the Eurosceptics. As Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt reported, a Tory source said: "This is our red line. We are not going to give any more ground. We have got Obama and now this bill. It is like building a dam."

But Nadine Dorries's comment illustrates clearly how the Eurosceptics are going to push for more. Off the top of my head, here is a list of various ways in which the "red line" is likely to be challenged.

1. Will Cameron promise to whip Tory MPs to vote for backbench legislation on an EU referendum bill?

2. Will he promise to vote for it himself?

3. Will he agree to pressure Nick Clegg into agreeing a government bill?

4. Will he allow Tory MPs to insert a referendum clause into another government bill going through parliament?

5. Will he published a beefed-up referendum bill? Yesterday's was very thin, and did not even say that a yes vote would certainly lead to Britain leaving the EU?

6. Will he use the EU's Article 50 procedure to make it clear that Britain's threat to leave the EU is genuine?

7. Will he allow Tory MPs to stand on a joint Conservative/Ukip ticket?

15 May 201310.32EDT

Tories have been saying that they are united over Europe. But this debate is exposing divisions. Richard Ottaway, the Conservative chairman of the foreign affairs committee, has just spoken and he said he did not agree with Michael Gove about Britain being able to survive quite easily outside the EU. "Norway and Switzerland don't call the shots," Ottaway said.

They pay billions every year for access to the single market. Switzerland has been forced into renegotiation. We would have to renegotiate our our free trade agreements. The holy grail of trade agreements is an EU/US deal. We would look pretty dumb if we were leaving the EU just as the EU was signing up to that agreement.

Later Ottaway was jeered when he said that he was no Europhile.

15 May 201310.19EDT

In the Sun on Sunday Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP, floated the idea of Conservative MPs running on a joint Conservative/Ukip ticket at the 2015 election. Now, in an interview with the Spectator, she has said that she would like to stand on this basis herself.

I suppose you could see it see it as a semi-defection. It would be nice to know what the Tory whips have to say about this.

According to the Spectator, Dorries says other MPs want to do the same.

If her association agrees, and Ukip also agrees to endorse her, [Dorries] could be the first Conservative MP to bear two badges on the ballot paper, and her actions will surely embolden other MPs who believe the arrangement could save their skins. She says a dozen other Conservatives have told her they agree with her idea. It would be very difficult to discipline an MP who has already arguably suffered unfair treatment which angered many backbenchers. The chances are that, as with many other policies, David Cameron will have to catch up with his party on this.

Earlier this week Nigel Farage indicated that he might support joint ticket deals of this kind in some seats.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (4)

15 May 201310.08EDT

In the Commons MPs are now on the final day of the Queen's speech debate. We've had speeches from Ed Balls and George Osborne - which were both good; I'll post excerpts later - and now backbenchers are speaking. We've just heard from John Baron, the Conservative Eurosceptic who tabled the amendment criticising the Queen's speech for the omission of an EU referendum bill.

The debate will run until 7pm. We'll then have three votes.

7pm: A vote on the Labour amendment. This is what it says.

Line 6, at end add ‘but regret that the Gracious Speech has no answer to a flatlining economy, the rising cost of living and a deficit reduction plan that has stalled, nor does it address the long-term economic challenges Britain faces; believe that the priority for the Government now should be growth and jobs and that we need reform of the European Union, not four years of economic uncertainty which legislating now for an in/out referendum in 2017 would create; call on your Government to take action now to kickstart the economy, help families with the rising cost of living, and make long-term economic reforms for the future; and call on your Government to implement the five point plan for jobs and growth, including bringing forward long-term infrastructure investment, building 100,000 affordable homes and introducing a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed in order to create jobs and help to get the benefits bill and deficit down, legislate now for a decarbonisation target for 2030 in order to give business the certainty it needs to invest, implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and establish a proper British Investment Bank.’.

7.15pm: A vote on the Baron amendment. This is what it says.

Line 6, at end add ‘but respectfully regret that an EU referendum bill was not included in the Gracious Speech.’.

7.30pm: A vote on the Plaid Cymru amendment. This is what it says.

Line 6, at end add ‘but respectfully regret that a Government of Wales Bill implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Devolution in Wales was not included in the Gracious Speech.’.

I won't be covering the debate in detail, but I will keep an eye on it, and bring you any highlights.

I'll also monitor the Lords, where Lord Lawson is due to speak in the Queen's speech debate.

Later this afternoon David Cameron is also due to give a press conference in the US. I'll follow that too.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (5)

15 May 201309.31EDT

Earlier I got one of the figures wrong in the YouGov poll. (See 10.36am.) The Tories are on 30% today, but that's down 1 from yesterday, not up 1, which means the Labour lead is up 3, not up 1.

15 May 201309.20EDT

Lunchtime summary

Nick Clegg has signalled that he thinks a referendum on Europe is inevitable at some point in the future. Speaking at PMQs, he also accused Tory Eurosceptics of "moving the goalposts" on the referendum. For more on the implications, see 1.26pm.

The Office for National Statistics has said that unemployment jumped and average wage rises dropped to their lowest on record in the three months to March, underlining concerns at the slow pace of the UK's recovery.

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has said that the government is "deeply concerned" about allegations of price fixing in the oil industry and that it will assist the European Commission investigation.

Theresa May, the home secretary, has told the Police Federation that she wants to put an end to "frivolous" legal claims made by officers against the public. In her speech, she also confirmed that she wants people who murder police officers to be jailed for life.

The Electoral Commission has said that donations to the Conservatives and Labour were running almost neck-and-neck during the first three months of the year. As the Press Association reports, the Tories declared donations of £3,663,024 while Labour received £3,681,486. In addition the Co-operative Party, which supports Labour, received £412,973. The Liberal Democrats reported donations of £842,710 while Nigel Farage's UK Independence Party, riding high after its successes in the local council elections, received £74,150.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, has expressed confidence that the capital could gain powers to raise property and other new taxes while he remains in office.

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, has said that government policies are to blame for the growing crisis in accident and emergency units.

There’s no simple cause, it’s a combination of things: we’ve seen cuts to nursing jobs, severe cuts to social care, we’ve got the terrible problems with the 111 service, and across the country we’re seeing the closure of walk-in centres. So a combination of factors is leading to intense pressure on A&E. It’s a mess of the Government’s making, they must urgently sort it out.

15 May 201308.40EDT

Here's some Twitter comment on the Nick Clegg referendum comments.

From ITV's Chris Ship

Clegg's people confirm DPM not said "when not if" before < referring to IN/OUT referendum on Europe ...

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) May 15, 2013

From the Daily Mail's Tim Shipman

Clegg should have a better answer on in-out referendum than this odd combination of disingenuous nonsense and amnesia

— Tim Shipman (Mail) (@ShippersUnbound) May 15, 2013

And here's some web comment on the same subject.

From Paul Waugh at PoliticsHome.

Clegg doesn't want to 'bang on' about Europe. But he equally doesn't want a referendum to be a bar to a future Coalition. His problem is that to get there he sounds like he's in favour of the very repatriation process he once derided.

Confused? You should be.

From James Kirkup at the Telegraph

Conservatives are using the referendum-a-rama this week to present themselves as the only party committed to a referendum on Europe in the next Parliament. That claim may not survive the realities of general election campaign.

And if the Lib Dems – whether through cameleonic political positioning or not – manage to present themselves in 2015 as more or less pro-referendum, where will that leave Labour?Does Ed Miliband really want to be the only party leader not committed to some sort of EU vote?

15 May 201308.26EDT

Clegg's referendum comments - Analysis

Four Conservative backbenchers asked Nick Clegg about the EU referendum. The most interesting response was the one he gave to Sir Roger Gale, who raised the matter first.

As you know my party has always believed there should be a referendum on Europe when the rules change, when new things are being asked of the United Kingdom within the European Union. That's what we had in our last manifesto and that's what we have now acted on in government by passing legislation together in the coalition just two years ago, giving an absolute legal guarantee in legislation for the first time ever that when the rules change there will be a referendum.

By the way, I think it is a question of 'when' not 'if' because the rules are bound to change. I would just simply suggest that we should stick to what we have done as a government by giving that guarantee to the British people rather than constantly shifting the goalposts.

To make sense of this, we first have to clarify the various types of referendum on offer.

1. An in/out referendum - ie, one offering voters the choice of staying in the EU or leaving. There are three versions of this: an immediate one (which is what the Lib Dems were demanding in 2008 - see 1.01pm); one held whenever there is a "fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU" (which is what the Lib Dems were promising in their 2010 manifesto); and one held after David Cameron's renegotiation (which is what Cameron, of course, is promising.)

2. An in/in referendum - ie, one offering voters a choice between the status quo and a new version of EU membership. The coalition's referendum lock law said that a referendum of this kind would happen whenever it was proposed to transfer further powers to Brussels.

In his answer, Clegg (deliberately, I think) confused the two. "That's what we had in our last manifesto and that's what we have now acted on in government by passing legislation together in the coalition just two years ago."

He then when on to say this referendum was inevitable. "It's a question of 'when' not 'if'." Depending on which type of referendum Clegg was referring to, this could mean one of two things.

Clegg thinks that at some point in the future, whether the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems win the next election, an EU renegotiation will result in some transfer of power to the EU, thus triggering the "referendum lock" legislation. Or;

Clegg thinks the in/out referendum offered in the Lib Dem 2010 manifesto will become inevitable because there will be a major renegotiation after 2015. It is fair to assume that this may happen whoever wins in 2015 because Labour has said that it also wants a change in Britain's relationship with the EU. Under the Lib Dems' 2010 policy, a referendum would take place even if powers were coming back to London, not flowing away from London, because there would be fundamental change.

As I write Simon Hughes is on the World at One. Like Clegg, he seems to be conflating the two, quite different, referendums.

But, even though the detail of Clegg's assertion was not clear, his overall message was plain: there will be a referendum, he suggested.

This has two big implications.

Clegg will find it harder to resist pressure to back legislation on a referendum before 2015. In particular, he will find it harder to justify not giving government time for the private member's bill. With government time, and Lib Dems votes, it would become law.

15 May 201308.01EDT

PMQs - My verdict

PMQs Verdict: Expectations are generally quite low when Nick Clegg squares up to Harriet Harman. It doesn't particularly matter who wins and who loses and, with the pressure off, both of them can get away with fairly routine knockabout. That's what we saw today. Harman had some good lines, Clegg gave as good as he got, but it did not really take us anywhere.

The best question, undoubtedly, came from the Conservative MP Edward Leigh, who asked about the Clegg U-turn - or double U-turn, see 11.54am - on the EU referendum. Clegg claimed that he had not changed his mind at all, and that what he had always wanted was a referendum when Britain's relationship with the EU changed. He also said that the coalition's "referendum lock" would deliver this and that it was inevitable that such a referendum would take place in the future (presumably because he thinks EU reforms will lead to some further powers being transferred to Brussels).

This was, to put it politely, a whopper. Rather, two whoppers. In 2008 the Lib Dems were not demanding an in/out referendum at some point in the future, when significant change took place. They wanted an immediate one. Clegg made it clear in an article he wrote for the Guardian at the time. And the referendum lock legislation passed by the coalition would not lead to an in/out referendum. It would lead to an in/in referendum, with voters being given the chance to back the status quo, or the proposal involving the transfer of powers to the EU.

But Clegg's concession that a referendum of some kind is inevitable is important. I'll post the full quotes, and some analysis, shortly.

UPDATE AT 6.41pm: A Lib Dem aide got in touch to complain about this. I posted my response here.

15 May 201307.35EDT

Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative, asks if the government will be supporting the Special Olympics in Bath this summer.

Clegg says Lord Coe is meeting the Special Olympics organisers to discuss what support he can provide.

15 May 201307.34EDT

Labour's Siobhan McDonagh asks why Cameron is going to Sri Lanka. Why does the government want to see an alleged war criminal as head of the Commonwealth?

Clegg says the government will be using this as an opportunity to cast a spotlight on abuses in Sri Lanka. Of course there will be consequences if there is no change. The Commonwealth matters to us all.

15 May 201307.30EDT

James Gray, a Conservative, asks about the Lib Dem in/out referendum leaflet. Will the Lib Dems support the referendum tonight?

Clegg says he supports a referendum when the relationship with Europe changes. He says the government should also be focusing on what's most important, like jobs.

15 May 201307.29EDT

Labour's Stephen Hepburn says the government's mesothelioma bill will only pay compensation to those diagnosed after July 2012.

Clegg asks what happened under Labour. He says he is "hugely sympathetic" to those who won't benefit.

15 May 201307.27EDT

Nigel Adams, a Conservative, says the economy is picking up in Yorkshire.

Clegg says as a Yorkshire MP he wants to celebrate success in the country, particularly the rebirth of manufacturing.

15 May 201307.25EDT

Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, says he cannot support David Cameron's decision to go to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth conference because of Sri Lanka's human rights record.

Clegg says that if human rights abuses continue in the run-up to the conference, "of course" there will be consequences.

15 May 201307.24EDT

Labour's Ian Murray asks Clegg if he agrees "with himself" about the privatisation of the Royal Mail being a mistake.

Clegg says he supports worker ownership. He thought Labour would support it too. But they have no policies, he says.

15 May 201307.23EDT

Edward Leigh, a Conservative, says he has the Lib Dem leafet calling for a real in/out referendum. It features a man called Nick Clegg. Was he an impostor or a hypocrite?

Clegg says that man was him. He was stating something he has always said; there should be a referendum when the relationship with Europe changed.

15 May 201307.21EDT

Labour's Brian Donohoe says the oil companies are price fixing in his constituency and elsewhere. What will the government do about it?

Clegg says the government has scrapped the fuel duty investigator. The European Commission is investigation the price fixing allegations, he says.

15 May 201307.20EDT

Rory Stewart, a Conservative, asks Clegg to suport a smart energy initiative in his constituency.

Clegg says if the project works, it should be extended.

15 May 201307.19EDT

Alan Reid, a Lib Dem, asks for an investigation into price fixing in the oil industry.

Clegg says petrol prices would be 13p a litre higher under Labour's proposals.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (6)

15 May 201307.17EDT

Andrew Turner, a Conservative, says the Lib Dems supported an in/out referendum in 2010. Shouldn't they back the amendment tonight?

Clegg says the manifesto called for an in/out referendum in the event of fundamental change. (See 11.54am.) He helped to write it, he says.

On the Queen's speech, he has an old-fashioned view, he says. The government should promote what's in the Queen's speech, not bemoan what's missing.

15 May 201307.15EDT

Labour's Toby Perkins says 69% of Remploy employees who lost their jobs last year are still out of work. It is costing more to keep them on the dole than it would have done to keep the factories open. Doesn't this show the government is not just heartless, but incompetent.

Clegg says it was not right to shut away disabled workers.

15 May 201307.13EDT

Margot James, a Conservative, asks Clegg if he supports the toughest penalties against those found guilty in the Oxford child grooming case.

Clegg pays tribute to the the victims who came forward. The accused should face the severest possible sentences, he says.

15 May 201307.12EDT

Labour's Robert Flello suggest the Lib Dems have opposed measures to tackle price fixing in the oil market.

Clegg says this problem occured under Labour.

15 May 201307.11EDT

Sir Roger Gale, a Conservative, asks if the Lib Dems will allow government time for an EU referendum bill.

Clegg says his party supports a referendum, and the referendum lock legislation will allow one. It's a question of "when, not if", he says.

15 May 201307.10EDT

Harman says even those in work are worse off. Will Clegg own up to that?

Clegg says Labour "crashed the British economy" and went on a prawn co*cktail offensive "sucking up to the banks". Under Labour, a cleaner paid proportionally more in tax than a hedge fund manager. The government is taking people out of tax altogether.

Harman says Clegg voted for a tax cut for millionaires. We have a prime minister who is not just indecisive, but weak.

Clegg asks what the top rate of tax was under Labour. It wasn't 50p, or 45p, but 40p, he says. They let the rich off the hook.

15 May 201307.08EDT

Harman asks Clegg if Cameron would be voting for the government, against the government, or showing true leadership and abstaining tonight if he were here.

Clegg says Harman's questions are about Cameron. Labour rejected the referendum lock plans. The position of the coalition is clear. Labour's position is not.

Harman says Cameron would have changed his mind after telling Clegg his position. But people are suffering. What is today's excuse for unemployment?

Clegg say for anyone being out of work is a tragedy. But Harman has given a partial snapshot. Full-time employment is up, and the number of women employed is at the highest level ever.

15 May 201307.06EDT

Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, says this is meant to be prime minister's questions. Yet, once again, he is not here. Why has he only answered questions once in the last eight weeks.

Clegg says David Cameron is "unusually assiduous" in coming to the Commons. Ed Miliband is the one who should be relieved about not being here. Miliband on Radio 4 could not answer questions about borrowing 10 times. Who said there was no comedy on Radio 4.

Harman says Cameron has been on a London bus in New York, something he never does in London. Why can't Cameron make the case for Europe in the Commons.

Clegg says Cameron will continue to make his views known.

15 May 201307.03EDT

Peter Bone, a Conservative, asks Clegg to confirm that only the Tories offer an in/out referendum.

Clegg says the coalition parties both supported the referendum lock legislation.

15 May 201307.03EDT

Labour's Tristram Hunt asks why Lib Dem MPs have to support the government's "wretched" policies like tuition fees if the Tories won't support the government on the Queen's speech.

Clegg says the coaliton is clearing up the mess left by Labour.

15 May 201307.02EDT

Nick Clegg at PMQs

Nick Clegg says he is replying on behalf of David Cameron. He says Cameron is in the US making the case for a EU/US trade deal.

15 May 201306.59EDT

Douglas Carswell has responded to my post about him.

@andrewsparrow I want the UK to quit the EU.To achieve that, we need to know how to count

— Douglas Carswell MP (@DouglasCarswell) May 15, 2013

I can't tell from that whether he likes being called the voice of moderation. But the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan says this label has always applied.

Douglas was always the voice of moderation, @andrewsparrow. It just took some longer than others to see it.

— Daniel Hannan (@DanHannanMEP) May 15, 2013

15 May 201306.54EDT

When Douglas Carswell talked about the "roadblock" preventing the government putting an EU referendum bill through parliament (see 11.26am), he was talking about Nick Clegg. The Lib Dems are not in favour of a referendum and will be voting against the referendum amendment this evening.

Clegg is bound to be asked about this at PMQs and it would be surprising if a Tory MP does not remind Clegg that at one point his party was actively campaigning for an in/out referendum. As George Eaton says at the Staggers, Clegg even appeared on a Lib Dem leaflet making the case for an in/out referendum of the kind he is now blocking.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (7)

The Lib Dems have got form on U-turns. But what's remarkable about this one is that it actually amounts to a rare double U-turn. Clegg originally proposed an in/out referendum when Gordon Brown was prime minister and the Tories were aggressively demanding a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Brown was saying no on the grounds that the Labour 2005 manifesto promise only covered a referendum on the proposed EU constitution and that the Lisbon treaty was slightly different. The Lib Dems also promised a referendum on the proposed EU constitution in their 2005 manifesto. But, if they supported the Tories, there was was a good chance that they could beat Labour and the Lisbon treaty could fall. As a good European, Clegg was appalled by the prospect. Instead he demanded a different sort of referendum, a full in/out one. At one stage he even led a Commons walk-out about it.

Then, gradually, the Lib Dems dropped that demand. By the time of the 2010 manifesto they were just saying they were committed to an in/out referendum "the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU".

The coalition has passed legislation for a "referendum lock". Yesterday the Lib Dem minister Norman Lamb argued that this was the same as an in/out referendum although, as I explained yesterday, that's not correct.

15 May 201306.26EDT

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (8)

There was a time when Douglas Carswell was seen as one of the most hardline Eurosceptics in the Conservative party. However, in a sign perhaps of how fevered the debate has become in the party, he has just popped up on BBC News as the voice of moderation, urging his collleagues to "cool it" on this issue. He will be abstaining, he said, rather than voting for the EU referendum bill amendment.

What we want from the prime minister is an in/out referendum. He's given a clear indication that we are going to get that. Quite rightly, a lot of colleagues said, 'Well, hang on, we want to see the legislation enacted in this parliament'. And I agree with that. Which is why I supported the amendment. But on Monday night, when I heard that the EU referendum bill was going to be published, I suddenly realised we are getting what we want from the prime minister ... It's not David Cameron that is the obstacle. Downing Street is not the roadblock to use getting this legislation through. So I think we need a slightly different set of tactics to achieve our objective.

Carswell said the private members' ballot, which will decide which MPs get the chance to bring forward a private member's bill on the EU referendum, was more important than tonight's vote. Tories would unite behind that bill, he said. The key question was whether Ed Miliband would support it.

15 May 201306.18EDT

There will be a vote on the EU referendum bill amendment tonight.

BREAKING: EU amendment to the Queen's Speech HAS been selected for a vote tonight

— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) May 15, 2013

In interests of fullness Commons Speaker John Bercow has also selected the Plaid Cymru and Labour amendments #exciting

— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) May 15, 2013

15 May 201306.11EDT

Unemployment figures - Reaction

Here's some reaction to the unemployment figures (see 9.40am and 9.54am).

From Mark Hoban, the employment minister

We are seeing continuing falls in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance which is positive. Whilst there has been a disappointing increase in the headline rate of unemployment, we shouldn't forget the progress we are making.

We are not complacent. To win the global race we need to do all that we can to help people achieve their aspiration to look after themselves and their families.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (9)

From Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary

We now have definitive proof the government has simply failed to get Britain back to work. Today we've learned the number in work is down, unemployment is up, and more people are out of work for longer. Yet despite a jobs crisis, the government did literally nothing in the Queen's Speech to help. Now instead of debating how to get Britain back on track, Tory MPs are bickering amongst each other in yet another Tory Euro-war. Families struggling for work will be asking quite simply, what planet are these people on?

Our economy is flatlining, and simply isn’t creating enough jobs. For the second month in a row, the number of people in work has fallen - and fallen sharply. Nearly one in five of those unemployed have been out of work for two years - and lots of part-time and temporary workers lost their jobs. The world of work has now become highly insecure.

We need a change of course today – starting with a Jobs Bill to bring in Labour's Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to get anyone out of work for more than two years back into a job; a job people must take or lose their benefits.

From TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

These jobs figures are troubling. There are now more people out of work today than when the coalition took office three years ago. Those in work are taking a hammering in their pay packets with wage growth down to just 0.4%, while prices rise far more quickly. It's no wonder the economy is struggling when people in work are getting poorer every month.

From Neil Carberry, director of employment and skills at the CBI

Given the challenging economic conditions at the end of last year, it's unsurprising that we're now seeing fewer people in work. What's encouraging, however, is that economic conditions seem to be improving and that full-time jobs are still being created. With these figures showing the highest number of vacancies since 2008, this reflects businesses' more positive view of the year ahead.

From Ian Brinkley, director of the Work Foundation

The underlying picture is of a labour market going nowhere. The total numbers in work fell and both unemployment and the number of people dropping out of the labour market increased. The changes were all negative but relatively small. Of continued concern are the persistently high levels of youth unemployment and record levels of underemployment among those in part-time jobs. Neither can be readily solved without strong employment growth in the future.

From Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight

Earnings growth remains extremely weak, which is hitting consumers' purchasing power appreciably especially as consumer price inflation has moved back up to 2.8%. While the economy has recently shown welcome signs of improvement, a serious concern for growth prospects is that consumer spending will be held back by low earnings and softer employment.

15 May 201305.56EDT

You can read all today's Guardian politics stories here. And all the politics stories published yesterday, including some in today's paper, are here.

As for the rest of the papers, here's the PoliticsHome list of top 10 must-reads and here's the ConservativeHome round-up of today's political stories, and here's the New Statesman list of top 10 comment articles.

As for the rest of the paper, here are two articles I found particularly interesting.

Iain Martin in the Daily Telegraph say the Europe crisis marks a new low in David Cameron's leadership.

The events of the past 48 hours have marked a new low in Mr Cameron’s leadership. In particular, there has been a serious erosion of the Prime Minister’s authority. Mr Cameron did not want a Bill in this parliament on an EU referendum. Then, in a sudden effort to encourage Tory MPs to soft-pedal on an amendment critical of the Queen’s Speech’s failure to mention a referendum, he gave way while on a trip to visit President Obama …

While some Tory MPs have gone on record to say they are pleased that the referendum Bill has been published, those who are enthusiastic about staying in the EU (there are about 30) are appalled. Several others I spoke to just seemed to be trying to keep up, hour by hour, with the Prime Minister’s evolving position.

Some Conservatives complain that this is all unfair. This trouble is all got up by the Europhile media – can’t you see that there is total harmony and no Tory split? They act as though saying this repeatedly, with a smile, will somehow make it true. That is Panglossian piffle. I am a Eurosceptic and I know a Tory shambles when I see one. This is definitely a Tory shambles.

Matthew Norman in the Independent says it is hard to find words to describe quite how serious the Tory crisis is.

For the latest and weirdest Conservative dive into a Euro-anarchic tailspin, there are no words. I do not mean this in the sense that David Cameron’s demented posturings over an in/out referendum defy description, though that may be true. I mean that there are literally no words in the lexicon to cover the co*cktail of chaotic misjudgement, rank cowardice and headless-chicken panic that has this week intoxicated the Prime Minister beyond his wits.

In such an event, there is nothing for it but to invent a new hybrid word …

The best I can come up with is metashambles. This may be politics, Dave, but not as we know it. This is the politics of an alternative reality... a Bizarro World which superficially appears identical to our own, but in which the ancient convention of a Prime Minister supporting his own newly minted legislative programme has been turned on its head.

15 May 201305.42EDT

Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, is announcing the key findings in the Bank's latest quarterly inflation report. My colleague Graeme Wearden is covering it on his business blog. Here's his opening post.

The Bank of England has raised its forecast for UK GDP growth, in its new quarterly inflation report.

Sir Mervyn King, speaking now, says that this is the first time he's been able to predict a "brighter economic outlook" since the financial crisis began.

The BoE governor, who steps down this summer, pointed to the 0.3% rise in GDP in Q1 2013. "A recovery is in sight."

But King adds, though, that the main downside risk to UK GDP comes from overseas, and singles out the eurozone.

15 May 201305.36EDT

For the record, here are today's YouGov GB polling figures.

Labour: 40% (up 2 points from YouGov yesterday)

Conservatives: 30% (down 1)

Ukip: 15% (up 1)

Lib Dems: 10% (no change)

Labour lead: 10 points (up 3)

Government approval: -37 (down 4)

UPDATE AT 2.31pm: Earlier I got one of the figures wrong in the YouGov poll. The Tories are down 1 from yesterday, not up 1 as I said originally, which means the Labour lead is up 3, not up 1. I've corrected those figures now.

15 May 201305.20EDT

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (10)

Boris Johnson has backed a report from the London Finance Commission saying that London should be given more financial freedom to fund infrastructure projects. He issued this statement.

The current system is simply not fit for purpose and is out of step with the funding settlements enjoyed by cities of comparable size and stature. Furthermore, Londoners will increasingly question why London government cannot enjoy similar fiscal freedoms as those afforded to the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales. London's key bodies are agreed that the capital's financial future lies in greater devolution. We will now be taking this case to government.

Here's the report (pdf). And here's an extract from the report.

The commission’s report recommends that funding arrangements in london should allow London government to make additional self-determined investments in its own infrastructure both to cater for the growth already forecast for its population and economy, and to promote additional economic growth. Relaxing restrictions on borrowing for capital
investment while retaining prudential rules and simultaneously devolving the full suite of property tax revenue streams would afford London government greater autonomy to invest in the capital. such reforms would also increase London government’s accountability to residents and businesses. Change would be achieved without affecting the financial
settlements of other parts of the country.

My colleague Patrick Wintour wrote a story previewing this last week.

15 May 201305.08EDT

Theresa May's attempt to ensure that people who murder police officers are locked up for life seems to be running into trouble.

The Sentencing Council says it has no power to introduce guidelines for murder - so it can't act on a proposal.

— Dominic Casciani (@BBCDomC) May 15, 2013

The BBC has more on this here.

15 May 201304.54EDT

Here's the start of the Press Association story on the unemployment figures.

Unemployment has increased by 15,000 to 2.52 million, while total pay growth has fallen to its lowest level in four years.

It is the third quarterly increase in a row in the jobless total.

The number of people in work fell by 43,000 in the latest quarter to March, to 29.7 million, the biggest fall since autumn 2011.

Today's data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that annual wage growth for the three-month period was 0.4%, a fall of 0.4% on the previous quarter, and lagging well behind inflation.

The figure for March alone showed a fall in pay of 0.4%, the first negative since March 2009.

Meanwhile, average earnings excluding bonuses rose by 0.8%, the lowest rise since records began in 2001.

The figures also revealed that 902,000 people had been out of work for more than a year, a 23,000 increase on the three months to December.

The number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds fell by 17,000 to 958,000.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, people on long-term sick leave and those who have given up looking for work, rose by 47,000 to nine million.

Despite today's increase in unemployment, the total is 92,000 lower than a year ago.

15 May 201304.45EDT

Ed Miliband has been talking about this evening's expected EU referendum bill vote. This is what he told broadcasters in a doorstep outside his house this morning.

What we see today is a Labour Party focused on jobs and living standards and sorting out our economy and a Conservative party where David Cameron has completely lost control. They’re arguing amongst themselves about Europe and not sorting out the problems of the country. Frankly, this has not just become an issue about Europe, but about David Cameron’s weak leadership of his party.

15 May 201304.33EDT

It's an important day in the House of Commons. We're going to see a large Tory “rebellion”. Only, if David Cameron is to be believed, those backbenchers voting for an amendment criticising the Queen's speech, and voting differently from Conservative ministers, are not really rebelling at all. It's all rather confusing.

According to David Cameron yesterday, he is “profoundly relaxed” about the prospect of 100-odd backbenchers voting for the amendment saying there should have been an EU referendum bill in the Queen's speech. He says that a referendum is Conservative, but not coalition, policy, and that this will not be a rebellion because all the the MPs will be doing will be voting in favour of a plank of the party's 2015 election manifesto. And he's right. Ministers are abstaining because it is deemed unseemly for them to vote against the Queen's speech. On this basis, the only real Tory rebels will be any brave enough to actually vote against the amendment.

But this won't prevent this being an uncomfortable day for Downing Street. Even if this isn't technically a rebellion, it is certainly going to look like one, and many Tories have vivid memories of what happened in the 1990s when they started voting different ways on Europe. Perhaps more importantly, today's vote may just mark the start of a two-year backbench war of attrition over Europe. Cameron has committed himself to a referendum by 2017 if he wins the general election, published a draft bill for a referendum and encourage any Tory backbencher who does well in tomorrow's private members' bills ballot to adopt it and to try to get it through the Commons. But his aides have also said that this is a “red line” and that he won't go any further. Whether that “red line” will hold remains to be seen. As Nicholas Soames said yesterday, the Eurosceptics seems insatiable. "You concede a yard and immediately that is jumped as not being enough and they want more,” Soames said. “I think it is a lunatic way of proceeding and the public will look at us and think 'they don't know what they are doing'."

We don't yet know for certain that the “rebel” amendment will actually be called. It's up to John Bercow, the Speaker, to decide. But it would be astonishing if he were decide not to call the amendment. Faced with any decision that offers the prospect of defending the rights of backbenchers and showing that parliament is relevant and news-worthy (and, perhaps, stuffing Cameron), it's not hard to guess what Bercow will do.

The Tories are desperate to switch the focus of media attention to Labour and the Lib Dems, who are not supporting the in/out referendum that most members of the public seem to want. We have not heard much from Nick Clegg on this recently, but he's standing in for Cameron at PMQs today and so he's likely to face questions on this.

I'll be blogging until we get the vote this evening. Here's the day's agenda.

9.30am: Unemployment figures are published.

9.30am: Michael Gove, the education secretary, gives evidence to the Commons education committee about school accountability, qualifications and curriculum reform.

10.30am: Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, holds a press conference to mark the publication of the Bank's final quarterly inflation report before he stands down. My colleague Graeme Wearden will be covering it in detail on his business live blog.

10.30am: Disability campaigners launch a legal challenge against the so-called “bedroom tax”.

11am: Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, gives evidence to a Lords committee.

12pm: Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman clash at PMQs. Clegg is standing in for David Cameron because Cameron is still in the US.

12pm: A delegation of nuns, priests, monks and bishops lobby parliament on behalf of the IF campaign against global hunger. At 2.30pm Ed Miliband will be holding a meeting with them.

12.30pm: George Osborne and Ed Balls open the final day of the Queen's speech debate, which is focusing on the economy.

7pm: MPs vote on the Queen's speech. There are likely to be two votes: one on the Labour party's amendment (details here), and one on the EU referendum bill amendment.

Also at some point today Theresa May, the home secretary, is giving a speech at the Police Federation conference. As Alan Travis reports, she will say that murderers of police officers are to be given whole-life sentences and be left to die in prison.

As usual, I’ll also be covering all the breaking political news as well as looking at the papers and bringing you the best politics from the web. I’ll post a lunchtime summary at before 1pm, and another in the afternoon.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

EU referendum bill vote: Politics live blog (2024)
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