Government rejects 4.1 million strong petition for second EU referendum
The Government has rejected a petition signed by 4.1 million people calling for a second EU referendum to take place.
The petition reached over 4 million signatures, having gained a huge number of signatures in the weekend following the result of the EU referendum revealed that 52 percent of voters wanted to leave.
By Saturday morning, one day after the referendum result, the petition, started by William Oliver Healey, passed a million votes.
An official response from the foreign office said that 33 million people had voted and that “the decision must be respected”.
“We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU,” the response reads.
The Foreign Office said: “The EU Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015. The Act was scrutinised and debated in Parliament during its passage and agreed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Act set out the terms under which the referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.
“As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say.
“The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once-in-a-generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.”
The petition, which was signed by many remain voters who suggest that the result of the referendum was too close to justify leaving the EU, was actually started over a month ago by Oliver Healy, an English Democrats leave campaigner who did not believe that his side would win.
In a Facebook post, he attempted to distance himself from the petition, which will trigger a parliamentary debate as it passed 100,000 signatures.
According to his Facebook page “Oliver Healey is standing for the English Democrats in Leicestershire”.
The petition, which now that leave has won Healey appears angry about, urges the Government to call a second referendum on the basis of a vote either way less than 60 percent out of a turnout of 75 percent or more.
It reads: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government 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.”
At one point on Friday, following the referendum announcement, a thousand people a minute were signing the petition, and it crashed the Government petitions website.
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The UK narrowly voted in a referendum to leave the EU – with 17,410,742 (51.9%) votes to leave, and just 16,141,241 (48.1%) votes for remaining.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who had fought passionately for the UK to stay in the EU, resigned last Friday morning, saying the country must take a “different path”.
He added the country requires a “different captain to steer the ship” to drive the negotiations with the EU and devolved governments.
In his speech outside 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron cited his legacy – including passing same-sex marriage in 2013.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced that she felt it was “highly likely” that Scotland would hold a second independence referendum following the UK’s result.
Then today, Ms Sturgeon suggested that Scotland could effectively veto the UK’s exit from the EU.