MY constituents who wanted to see legislation so that a referendum could be held on the UK’s relationship with the European Union will be feeling very frustrated, as I am, that a private member’s bill to allow this has gone up in smoke.

It didn’t happen in the voting lobbies of the House of Commons, where I and fellow Conservative MPs gave it our support. What took place afterwards was that the Liberal Democrats said they would not pass a money resolution which would allow the European Union (Referendum) Bill to go on to its next parliamentary stage, the committee.

To go back a stage in explanation, this bill would have allowed a referendum to take place in 2017, after a raft of renegotiations of the UK’s obligations under the European Union treaty.

When the bill was debated in the House of Commons, I repeated a question which is often put to me by my constituents, which is whether I am confident that the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Government will have completed those renegotiations by 2017. Well, I got an answer directly back from the Foreign Secretary: “The fact of the referendum will drive the timetable of that agenda. We are lighting a fire under the EU by this piece of legislation.”

As I said in the Commons that day, there have been referendums on constitutional matters in Scotland and in Wales, but not in the UK as a whole.

The Liberal Democrats allowed a similar money resolution for a referendum bill last year, but this year they would only have given permission if a bill on affordable housing went through at a cost of more borrowing and debt.

Now that the smoke has cleared, we know that neither Labour nor the Liberal Democrats will allow the referendum, UKIP cannot deliver a referendum, and thus only a Conservative majority government will give people a vote on the UK and Europe.