LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered an embarrassing defeat in parliament on Monday after Euroskeptic members of his Conservatives joined forces with opposition lawmakers to reject proposed rules for a European Union membership referendum.
While Cameron's lawmakers back the idea of holding the referendum, due by the end of 2017, many had expressed concern about plans not to halt government activity in the run up to the vote, arguing it could influence the outcome.
Monday is the final chance for lawmakers to debate the referendum legislation before it heads to parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, and in a vote on the proposed rules, they rejected the government's plans by 312 votes to 285.
While the legislation is expected to pass when it is voted on as a whole later on Monday, the government will now likely be forced to accept more stringent rules limiting its activity during the campaign period.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Editing by William James)