Brexit referendum a ‘bluff’ that should never happen again, MPs say
A report released by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee insisted the government is “accountable and must take responsibility for the conduct of referendums, … and planning for either outcome.”
The report blasted the British government and then-Prime Minister David Cameron for the poor organization of the Brexit referendum and the failure to make contingency plans in case the Leave campaign prevailed, which it did.
“There was no proper planning for a Leave vote so the EU referendum opened up much controversy…,” the report said
The MPs also said that the Brexit referendum “left the prime minister’s credibility destroyed,” and cautioned against future “bluff call” referendums to close an unwelcome debate.
The committee also criticized Cameron’s government for creating the perception that it was attempting to manipulate the official procedure in order to gain a favorable result in the EU vote.
“While it is perfectly legitimate for the prime minister and government to take an official position during a referendum campaign, the fairness, and legitimacy, of a referendum rests on a careful and restrained use of the machinery of government.”
Numerous government actions in the run-up to the referendum appear to have increased public distrust.
Using a referendum as a “bluff call” in order to close down unwelcome debate on an issue is a questionable use of referendums. #brexit— Richard (@rp6805) 12 April 2017
“The use of the machinery of government during the referendum contributed to a perception that the civil service were, in some way, biased,” the report concluded.
The UK voted to leave the European Union in a tightly-contested referendum in June 2016.
Following the decision, Prime Minister Cameron, who proposed the referendum, resigned and then-Home Secretary Theresa May took over.
May recently invoked Article 50 of the EU Treaty, triggering the official process of the UK leaving the bloc, which is expected to take at least two years.