The prospect of MPs debating the pros and cons of a Brexit deal referendum could be on the cards.
Due to the creation of the House of Commons Petitions Committee, first set-up in 2015 and continued after June’s snap election, members of the public can create petitions, which can end up being debated in the House of Commons.
This new petition, which calls for a “referendum on the final Brexit deal” was only set up on 12th September, and has already gotten the 10,000 signatures required for a government response. If the petition hits 100,000 signatures then it will be considered for a debate in the chamber.
As of Saturday morning at 9am, the petition has over 73,000 signatures and is growing quickly, suggesting that it could hit the tenth of million mark within by the start of next week or even over the weekend.
The petition calls on the government to “give the people of this country the final say on the Brexit deal negotiated by the UK and EU.” It goes on to say that, “This would be done through a referendum that would take place prior to the April 2019 exit date.”
Tom Holder (@tomholder) September 13, 2017
It also includes a proposal for such a referendum to offer the British people three choices: continued EU membership, a Brexit accepting the UK-EU deal, and Brexit without a deal.
Petition creator Tom Holder told HITC Politics:
“As Brexit negotiations appear to move further and further away from the promises made by the Leave campaign in the run up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, it is more important than ever that the people, not the politicians, are given a say on the final deal. The British public, whether they voted Leave or Remain, must be able to choose their own future when the full facts of the final deal are known. Only then can we say they have been able to make an informed decision."
Mr Holder is a Liberal Democrat council candidate for Rotherhithe. His party pledged to hold a similar referendum in June’s snap election under the leadership of Tim Farron.
Will parliament debate the issue?
The important thing to notice is that a petition that gets 100,000 signatures will merely be considered for a debate in parliament. Such a milestone does not mean guaranteed debate.
However, that does not mean that the government will necessarily ignore the petition. By hitting the 10,000 mark, Holder’s petition will get a response from the government, which will no doubt state that the government will not hold a new referendum. On top of that, the Petitions Committee announced on Thursday that parliament is set to debate a petition on proportional representation on 30th October, which did hit 100,000 signatures.
A referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal looks unlikely, but this petition could move the idea forward some distance.