MPs debate new EU referendum

A debate on the possibility of holding a second EU referendum has proved an opportunity for MPs on both Remain and Leave sides to raise key issues over the Brexit debate.

The debate is being held due to the success of a petition to parliament, which saw more than four million people sign to say there should have been a second referendum if the referendum was not won by at least 60%.

Lost votes of long-term expats who were not allowed to take part, the majority ‘Remain’ vote in Scotland which is giving rise to renewed talk of independence (or perhaps a ‘reverse Greenland’ where Scotland would stay in the EU while the rest of the UK left) and the fact that the referendum was technically only ‘advisory’ and ‘non-binding’ according to House of Commons Library researchers are among the topics that have been raised.

Some support for a second referendum – perhaps when more clarity emerges on the terms the UK will be offered – has been expressed (Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said "we have no idea of what lies on the other side of the door marked ‘Brexit’"), as well as the matter of whether it should be put to MPs to have the final say on triggering article 50.

One speaker said it was surprising that Remain supporters had championed British ‘sovereignty’ but now opposed letting parliament be sovereign in favour of the Prime Minister imposing the triggering of article 50 using the royal prerogative.

It was also suggested that a ‘quadruple lock’, with all four nations of the UK required to agree to leave, might have been advisable, and it was stated that when referendums are held on important constitutional issues in other countries there is usually a higher requirement than a simple majority.

‘Misleading claims’ were also said to have been made with impunity during the referendum campaigns.

One ‘Leave’ supporter said, however, that not to go ahead with triggering article 50 now would show ‘contempt’ for the British public, and that no one had realistically believed the referendum was merely about ‘advice’. There had also been plenty of opportunity for both sides to rebut each other's claims during the campaigning, he said.

On writing, the debate continues at: