9 JUN 2011
The government has suffered a defeat in the Lords over its plans to offer the public a vote on major transfers of power to Brussels.
Peers backed a cross-party call for referendums to be binding only when at least 40% of the electorate takes part.
The vote came in spite of an appeal by Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell who described the idea of a minimum turnout as "highly negative".
A "referendum lock" on new EU treaties was part of the coalition agreement.
The government was defeated by 221 votes to 216, including five Conservative rebels and six Lib Dems.
However, it is likely to seek to overturn the defeat when the Europe Bill returns to the Commons.
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