MPs expected to debate referendum on deal

A petition to the UK government and parliament calling for a new Brexit referendum on the final deal has passed 100,000 signatures and is therefore expected to be debated by MPs.

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The petition asks for a referendum to be held before April 2019, the date pencilled in for Brexit to take place.

It says there should be three options: to revoke article 50 and stay in the EU, to reject the deal and leave the EU without it, or accept the deal and leave the EU.

The third option could be removed if no deal has been agreed when the referendum is held, the petition says, adding: “Regardless of whether individuals voted to remain in or leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum, everyone should have a chance to decide the future based on the final agreement negotiated between the UK and the EU.”

The petition has yet to receive the written government reply which is offered for petitions passing 10,000 or be scheduled for a Commons debate. However, the government says a debate ‘almost always’ takes place for petitions with 100,000 or more unless, for example, the same matter has been debated recently or will be soon.

Expat rights campaigner Brian Cave of, part of the British in Europe coalition, said any possibility of another referendum makes it all the more urgent that there should be an end to the ‘15-year rule’ which banned long-term expats from taking part last time.

The rule means those out of the UK for more than 15 years lose their general election vote – and this same ‘Westminster franchise’ was chosen as the basis for voting rights in the Brexit referendum.

“The government needs shaking up on the votes issue,” Mr Cave said. “If a second referendum comes about it would be a real disgrace for us once again not to have the vote. I have written personally to Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, about the vote and I hope others will do too."

So far the UK government has only told Connexion that it will legislate to give ‘Votes for Life’ before the next general election, scheduled for 2022.

A ‘Votes for Life’ bill was first listed in the 2015 Queen’s Speech and was again promised in the Conservative manifesto for the general elections in 2016.

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