LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron has backed down over rules limiting the involvement of the government in campaigning before a referendum on European Union membership after lawmakers from his Conservative Party threatened to revolt, the BBC said.
In the second concession on the referendum in two days, Cameron will agree to keep in place rules that restrict certain government activity in the weeks ahead of the vote.
On Tuesday, the government agreed to change the wording of the referendum question.
As many as 27 Eurosceptic lawmakers had argued that removing the rules for the EU referendum would have allowed the machinery of government to be used to support the case for staying in the EU, the BBC said.
“Pleased to hear purdah now to be reinstated for EU Referendum as well as fairer question than before but why does Cameron have to be forced?” Mark Reckless, director of policy for the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party, said on Twitter.
Amendments to the EU Referendum Bill, which is due to have its third reading in the House of Commons on Monday, will impose ‘purdah’ with some exceptions, though it was unclear whether the changes will satisfy all Eurosceptic lawmakers.
British officials have begun renegotiating some aspects of the country’s relationship with the EU and Cameron has promised a referendum by the end of 2017, though many officials expect it to be held next year.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by William Schomberg