As expected by some, more than 2.5 million people have now signed a petition demanding a second EU referendum, after 52% voters favoured parting ways with Europe on Friday.
The petition has crossed the minimum threshold of 100,000 signature for the topic to be discussed in the House of Commons (British parliament) by MPs.
Such has been the flurry that the website for the petition crashed at one time. The Parliament is expected to convene on Tuesday, when this matter will be taken up for discussion.
52% voters in the referendum had chosen to leave the EU while 48% voted to remain.
The voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed the ‘Remain’ campaign.
Britain comprises of four countries namely England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
David Cameron, who had led the ‘Remain’ campaign said he will resign in October making way for the new Conservative leader to succeed him.
Cameron had previously said there will be no second referendum.
On Friday we reported how many voters who had voted to leave the EU were now repenting their decision.
BBC quoted a House of Commons spokeswoman as saying that the petition for the second referendum was created on 24 May.
The creator of the website, William Oliver Healey, said, “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60%, based on a turnout less than 75%, there should be another referendum.”
Meanwhile, British newspaper Daily Express reported that the turnout in the referendum was 72.2%, lower than the 75% mark suggested by Healey as a threshold.
However, the parliament taking up the matter for debate doesn’t automatically mean this will result in the change of law, let alone changing the law retrospectively.
Had Cameron included a clause of minimum overall turnout or margin of victory for the referendum result to be invalid, Britain could still have been a part of EU. But there were no such clauses in the referendum briefs.
BBC’s political correspondent, Iain Watson, said, “The fact that more than one and a half million people have signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum has attracted a lot of attention – but it has zero chance of being enacted.
The main reason is that it is asking for retrospective legislation. It suggests another referendum is required because the winning side got less than 60% of the vote, and there was less than a 75% turnout. You can have thresholds in referendums. The 1979 referendum to set up a Scottish parliament failed because a clause was inserted in to the legislation requiring more than 40% of all eligible voters – not just those taking part – to agree to devolution before it took place.”
One thing that is actively being discussed by MPs informally is that if the terms of exit from the EU can be put to a referendum.
Britain has two years to finalise exit terms.
Interestingly, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who campaigned for the UK to leave the EU throughout his political career, had said in May that a narrow win for Remain could cause unstoppable demand for a rerun of the referendum.
He said at the time that a result that saw Remain win by 52% to 48% would mean “unfinished business by a long way.”
His critics are now asking why same could not apply for the supporters of Remain camp.
Elsewhere, more than 100,000 people have signed perition demanding London to become an independent state and join the EU.
And then there is Scotland, where politicians have already begun weighing options for a second referendum on independence from the UK because an overwhelming majority here had voted to remain in the UK.