‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Monday, December 05, 2016

If the 2016 EU referendum was not binding, nor was that of 1975

"The referendum result was not legally binding due to the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty. However, it was widely accepted that the vote would be the final say on the matter. In a 1975 pamphlet, then Prime Minister Harold Wilson said: "[. . .] I ask you to use your vote. For it is your vote that will now decide. The Government will accept your verdict."[2] The pamphlet also said: "Now the time has come for you to decide. The Government will accept your decision - whichever way it goes." "


If the 2016 vote to leave is worthless, then so was the 1975 vote to remain. The real constitutional crisis was inherent in making the abdication of national sovereignty merely a (heavily downplayed) plank in party politics.

Three other countries had a referendum on the issue beforehand, in 1972 - and Norway said no. The UK waited for 3 years and held a referendum only because the Labour Party opposed EEC membership while in opposition.


Either we are headed out, or we were never in.


A K Haart said...

I like this argument - it cuts to the chase very neatly indeed.

James Higham said...

Now it has to be said publicly.

wiggiatlarge said...

This is something I have been saying for a long time, but for different reasons, the fact being we voted to join the EEC not the EU and were lied to by all and sundry as they were fully aware of what was down the road.

Jim in San Marcos said...

I have read the warning label. Not sure what it means. It looks to me like the Brexit can't go forward, because of legislation many years ago.

Enlighten us in the USA. I can't figure it out. You won the referendum, but it goes nowhere from here, in my interpretation of English law.

Sackerson said...

HI, Jim. Opinion is divided. An expert on these matters says that all EU law requires is for the government (not Parliament) to notify its intention to leave.


Woodsy42 said...

I have been saying this for ages, although there was later an acceptance referendum for the ECM. The Lisbon treaty however is completely illegal and there was no referendum, yet it is the Lisbon treaty which made EU laws supreme.