Geoffrey Cox: EU referendum purdah period should be made clear by law

16th June 2015

Speaking in the debate on the European Union Referendum Bill, Geoffrey Cox seeks to allay concerns about the purdah period highlighting that safeguards relating to the purdah period will be in the Bill and made clear by statute.

Mr Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon) (Con): My hon. Friend has insisted, and I understand this, that any safeguards relating to a purdah period should be in the Bill and should be made clear by statute. As I understand it, the Government’s undertaking, by means of the Minister’s letter, is to table amendments on Report, which would go into the final Act of Parliament and have legal force. It is not a matter of relying on the assurances of civil servants; it is a matter of law. If that is correct, it may go some way to alleviating the concerns of Government Members.
Mr Jenkin: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing the Committee’s attention to that point. We should all be grateful for the fact that the Government have listened, but they are still requesting that we withdraw the amendment. To do so would be to concede the principle that purdah might not exist in statutory form. The Labour party’s amendment on purdah would not actually create purdah; it would require the Government to produce a list of things. What we want in the Bill is purdah. If the Government are not prepared to accept that principle now, on the Floor of the House, I fear that we will have force the amendment to a vote, because it is a matter of principle.

Surgery Dates

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Saturday 14th July
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Saturday 28th July
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