British parliament members have overwhelmingly voted in favor of plans to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership in the European Union.
Following a lengthily debate, the EU Referendum Bill — backed by the labor party — was pushed through the House of Commons with 544 yes votes on Tuesday. Out of the 650 MPs, 53 voted against the move.
“We’ve had referendums on Scottish devolution, referendums on Welsh devolution, referendums on our electoral system and on a regional assembly for the North East,” said Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond during the debate.
“But an entire generation of British voters has been denied the chance to have a say on our relationship with the European Union… today we are putting that right,” he added, noting that the public must have the “final say” about the UK’s place in Europe.
If the referendum takes place — supposedly by the end of 2017 at the latest — it will be the first time Britain’s links with Europe are put to vote since 1975.