Parliamentary debate on EU referendum re-run

Parliament is set to debate the call for a second referendum on EU membership after an online petition gained more than four million signatories for the move, but the government has made clear that this does not mean there will be a vote to decide whether to re-run last month’s result to leave

The debate will take place on 5 September at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall, the second debating chamber of the House of Commons. The debate will be opened by Ian Blackford MP.

The petitions committee said it had decided to give the debate the go-head because of the ‘huge number’ of people signing the petition. However, it says the debate has no power to change the law and will not result in Parliament deciding to hold a second referendum.

It points out that the online petition was opened on 25 May, well before the referendum, and calls for the referendum rules to be changed. It sought to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.

The committee says it is now too late for the rules to be changed retrospectively, but it will be up to the government to decide whether it wants to start the process of agreeing a new law for a second referendum.

The UK voted by 52% to 48% to leave the EU. In its response to the petition on the website, the government stated that ‘the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33m people having their say’, and describing it as a ‘once in a generation vote’.

Theresa May, who takes over from David Cameron as prime minister today, has ruled out a second vote, saying ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

Parliament is required to consider for debate all petitions that attract more than 100,000 signatures.

The e-petition and government responses are here.

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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