Make provision for a referendum on the draft Constitutional Treaty on the
Future of Europe.
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 Referendum on the proposed European Union Constitution
(1) No treaty adopted by the Inter-Governmental Conference convened to
consider the draft treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union
shall be ratified unless the provisions of the treaty have been agreed to in a
(2) At the same time as the Secretary of State publishes a bill to give effect to the
provisions of the treaty referred to in subsection (1), he shall publish a
Command Paper which shall include an assessment of the political and
financial commitments, and any transitional arrangements, that the United
Kingdom has entered into as a result of the treaty.
(3) A referendum shall be held no sooner than three months after the publication
of the Command Paper referred to in subsection (2).
2 Referendum question
(1) The question to be asked in a referendum held in pursuance of section 1 is:
“Should the Government ratify the Treaty establishing a Constitution for the
(2) The following statement must precede the question on the ballot paper:
“Parliament has decided that the Government should not ratify the Treaty
establishing a Constitution for European Union unless the people of the United
Kingdom have agreed in a referendum that it should do so.”
3 Arrangements for the referendum
(1) Those entitled to vote in the referendum shall be persons who, on the date of
the referendum, would be entitled to vote as electors in European
(2) The Secretary of State shall appoint a Chief Counting Officer.
(3) The Chief Counting Officer shall appoint a counting officer for each
(4) Each counting officer shall—
(a) conduct the counting of votes cast in the area for which he is appointed
in accordance with regulations, and
(b) certify the number of votes cast for each proposition.
(5) The Chief Counting Officer shall certify the total of—
(a) the ballot papers counted, and
(b) the votes cast for each proposition,
for the whole of the United Kingdom.
(6) The Electoral Commission shall publish a report setting out when and how the
referendum shall be conducted, including what information is to be provided
to those entitled to vote.
(7) The conduct of the referendum shall follow as closely as possible the
provisions of the Representation of the People Acts 1983 to 1993.
(8) The Secretary of State shall give effect to the provisions contained in a report of
the Electoral Commission under subsection (6) by means of regulations.
(9) Regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument which
shall be subject to approval by each House of Parliament.
(10) The day chosen for holding the referendum shall be a public holiday.
There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament—
(a) any expenditure of the Secretary of State in consequence of this Act; and
(b) any increase attributable to this Act in the sums which under any other Act
are payable out of money so provided.
5 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Draft Constitutional Treaty on the Future of
Europe (Referendum) Act 2003.