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Can a repeat referendum be forced?

(10 Posts)
dotnet Fri 01-Jul-16 08:53:24

I'm curious to know why as yet (as far as I know) there's been no legal challenge to the legal status of the referendum outcome.

If a proportion of the Brexit supporters voted 'Leave' based on the false claim of the amount of money which would go into the NHS (saved from 'subscription' to the EU) - surely this makes the referendum outcome invalid?

Or can anyone claim any old nonsense in the course of a referendum campaign and if people are misled, then it's just a case of 'caveat emptor'?

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 01-Jul-16 08:56:55

We'd be the laughing stock of the world if we turned round now and said "ooh no we've changed our minds, can we stay please?" and we'd never have any say in Europe because we wouldn't be taken seriously.

Is that a good idea?

Lockheart Fri 01-Jul-16 08:57:59

This referendum was advisory - there is absolutely no legal compulsion for parliament to follow through with the result. Invoking Article 50 still has to pass through parliament and MPs could stop it. We are very far away from initiating the process of leaving the EU - the referendum was essentially a giant opinion poll, and has the same legal weight (none).

Legally, they can hold as many referendums as they'd like.

Now whether ignoring the referendum result and / or holding another would be a good political move is an entirely different matter...

titchy Fri 01-Jul-16 09:03:41

Referendums have NO legal status whatsoever.

prh47bridge Fri 01-Jul-16 09:46:52

In any election candidates may offer policies that are not actually deliverable. This is a particular temptation for parties that don't expect to win - offer undeliverable populist policies to try and win more votes. An election result cannot be overturned on the basis that a candidate was lying unless they have made false statements about the personal character or conduct of other candidates.

In the same way it is not possible to challenge the result of this referendum (which is, as others have said, only advisory) on the basis of the false promises made by the Leave campaign. Similarly, if Remain had won, it would not have been possible to challenge the result on the basis of their overblown predictions of the negative consequences of a vote to leave the EU.

In any election it is very much a case of caveat emptor.

MadameMaxGoesler Fri 01-Jul-16 13:32:04

The power to give notice under Article 50 is reserved to government under Royal Prerogative: Parliament does not get to debate it. Parliament does get to debate the withdrawal agreement, which will be negotiated once notice has been given. But since the two year clock starts ticking once notice has been given and after two years, unless an extension is unanimously agreed by the member states, we are out whether or not the withdrawal agreement is concluded, any attempt by Parliament to thwart or delay will only result in us leaving on worse terms.

prh47bridge Fri 01-Jul-16 15:57:21

any attempt by Parliament to thwart or delay will only result in us leaving on worse terms

That is by no means clear. The whole purpose of the timetable laid down in Article 50 is to ensure that power in the negotiations lies with those nations remaining in the EU, giving limited leverage to the nation that is leaving. Delaying invocation of Article 50 is one possible way the nation leaving may get some leverage back.

MadameMaxGoesler Fri 01-Jul-16 20:56:18

I should have expressed myself more clearly: any attempt by Parliament to thwart or delay once the Article 50 notification has been given will only result etc.

cdtaylornats Fri 01-Jul-16 22:27:47

Still nothing prevents us from going out and negotiating with the rest of the world right away.

Do you think the French and Italian winemakers would be happy to see us negotiating wine deals with the rest of the world while a Swede tells them they can't.

dotnet Sat 02-Jul-16 07:48:49

Thanks for those answers. I was a bit mystified, as a legal eagle does often raise his/her head to challenge controversial political moves. I see now also that when/if the 4.1million signature petition for a repeat referendum is debated, the debate will be in Westminster Hall, not in the H-o-C itself, and this means it won't and can't carry the same weight as a debate in the H-o-C.
Again - helpful answers, thankyou.

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