EU referendum bill clears hurdle in British parliament

14th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

A bill for a referendum on Britain's EU membership cleared a key hurdle on Monday when the House of Lords narrowly rejected an opposition proposal to give younger voters the right to take part.

"A key manifesto commitment delivered as the EU Referendum Bill clears Parliament. Voters will have an in/out choice before the end of 2017," Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted after the debate.

The vote in the upper chamber of the British parliament was rejected by 263 votes to 246.

The chamber had voted in favour last month of extending the right to vote to young people aged 16 and above but this was rejected by the lower House of Commons, setting up a possible confrontation.

The current voting age in Britain is 18 and above.

Cameron wants to stay in the EU if he can secure reforms including curbing the state benefits which EU migrants can claim in Britain.

Some senior Conservatives currently expect the referendum will take place next year but a lengthy parliamentary battle could have delayed that.

In last year's referendum on Scottish independence, 16 and 17-year-olds were allowed to take part.

Some eurosceptics were concerned that younger voters could have swayed the vote in favour of Britain remaining a member of the European Union.

© 2015 AFP

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