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Published: Wed, July 13, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

British Parliament to Debate Petition Calling for Second EU Referendum

British Parliament to Debate Petition Calling for Second EU Referendum

MPs will debate the prospect of a second referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union after more than four million people signed a petition.

A record-breaking petition calling for a second referendum on the UK's membership in the European Union will be debated in the House of Commons on September 5.

The online campaign is the most popular ever published on the Government's website with record numbers signing up and crashing the site within hours of its existence.

However the spokesperson made it clear that the committee in no way supports the holding of a second referendum. "At the end of the debate, a government minister will respond to the points raised", the committee said in a statement.

The petition seeking a change to referendum rules was started by a "leave" supporter. The Petitions Committee noted this does not mean there will be a second referendum, but that "it is up to the government to decide whether it wants to start the process of agreeing to a new law for a second referendum".

But it said: "A debate in Westminster Hall does not have the power to change the law, and won't end with the House of Commons deciding whether or not to have a second referendum".

British Parliament to Debate Petition Calling for Second EU Referendum
British Parliament to Debate Petition Calling for Second EU Referendum

'It is now too late for the rules to be changed retrospectively.

The petition, which said that the Government should hold a re-run if "the remain or leave vote is less than 60 per cent based on a turnout less than 75 per cent", has jumped its first hurdle.

The petition was set up before the referendum but gained traction after the vote with many millions of the 48% who voted to remain.

It had been reported that the petition was rejected out of hand, after a government response on Saturday was dismissive.

It said the decision "must be respected", and "we must now prepare for the process to exit the EU".

Reaction to the announcement has been largely negative, with people on social media pointing out that "Brexit means Brexit" and highlighting the pointlessness of the debate, given it won't result in what those who signed the petition had hoped for - a second referendum.

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