James Whalley, who, astonishingly, drew first place in the ballot for Private Members' Bills presented his European Union (Referendum) Bill 2013 -2014 yesterday to the House for its First Reading, which is really just a formality. Second Reading is scheduled for July 5, a Friday as Private Members' Bills are debated on that day.
In the meantime there has been a certain amount of displacement activity going on. As ever it relies on the stupendous ignorance most eurosceptics display about the British Constitution. Benedict Brogan talks portentously about what will happen next but only the very ignorant will be surprised by his article. What happens next is exactly what happens with all Bills.
The Express thinks that this takes us closer to "free Britain", which is nonsensical. It takes closer, possibly, to having a referendum some time in the future, assuming nothing much of importance happens in the meantime in the European Union but, as we know or ought to know, having a referendum is not the same as voting to get out or even knowing how we get out. The present state of popular opinion would indicate that the stayers-in will win with no great difficulty.
The biggest of all attempts at displacement activity is the invitation by "Grant Shapps and/or some clever boffin at CCHQ" to invite you, me and everyone else to co-sponsor the Bill. The way to do it is to click on to the right page on Facebook and put your signature to the Bill. There is just one minor problem with this. Oh, a very unimportant problem but I do think someone needs to mention it. A Bill is sponsored by members of the House of Commons or the House of Lords, depending on where it starts. This one is starting in the Lower House and has been co-sponsored by a number of MPs, not all of whom can be called eurosceptic. Members of the public do not sponsor Bills. Putting your name on that page may give you a warm fuzzy feeling of doing something but it is a pointless exercise.