Online petition not enough for 2nd #Brexit referendum in UK – Electoral Commission
The online petition carries no legal authority, the Electoral Commission ruled, after disgruntled voters of the Remain camp signed an online petition calling for a re-run of the Brexit referendum, which was held last week.
The goal was to urge “HM Government to implement a rule that, if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 percent based on a turnout less than 75 percent, there should be another referendum.”
This legal argument originally began with a Leave supporter, William Oliver Healey, and now has been embraced by the Remain voters following the loss.
Thursday’s referendum on EU membership ended with 51.9 percent of votes cast to leave the bloc and 48.1 percent choosing to remain.
Healey said his original petition was hijacked.
“This petition was created at a time [over a month ago] when it was looking unlikely that 'leave' were going to win, with the intention of making it harder for 'remain' to further shackle us to the EU. Due to the result, the petition has been hijacked by the remain campaign,” Healey posted on Facebook.
A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission confirmed to Sputnik news agency that there is no law guaranteeing a second referendum if the turnout was less than 75 percent or the vote was less than 60 percent.
“There is no such threshold in referendum legislation,” a spokeswoman for the commission said.
Despite being not legally binding, the petition sparked a parliamentary debate, with MPs arguing over the issue.
In the meantime, claims of 77,000 fraudulent signatures in the petition have led to an investigation. It was said that many online signatories actually came not from the UK, but from the Cayman Islands, Iceland and Tunisia.
The chair of the petitions committee, Helen Jones, responded that “the Government Digital Service are taking action to investigate and, where necessary, remove fraudulent signatures.”
“People adding fraudulent signatures to this petition should know that they undermine the cause they pretend to support. It is clear that this petition is very important to a substantial number of people,” Jones added.
A lot of the outraged voters from the Remain camp are young people who claim that older generations got to decide the referendum and “ruined” their future.
Many have taken their grievances online, making videos and speaking out on social media against the decision.
However, the latest figures from the referendum show that only 36 percent of people aged 18 to 24 participated in the EU referendum, while 64 percent chose to stay at home.