A new Brexit referendum well beyond the March 29th date when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Unio. But when, what and how must be answered first, says Alan Renwick of University College London.The Economist
To hold another referendum on Brexit in the coming months, three key questions would need to be resolved.
First, when would it take place? Holding a referendum in the UK is not straightforward. Parliament must legislate. The Electoral Commission must test the proposed question for clarity and impartiality. Campaign groups must form. A “lead” campaigner on each side must be selected. Voters must have a chance to hear and reflect on the arguments.
In a report published by the UCL Constitution Unit last autumn, my colleagues and I calculated that all of this takes at least 22 weeks. Some referendum supporters say the process could be sped up. That is true: parliament could dispense with normal practice if it wished. But the existing procedures have been put in place so that referendums are conducted fairly. Tossing them aside would undermine the legitimacy of the result.