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Practicalities of a referendum
19 Oct, 2018

Indexed list of Blogs

London4Europe Committee member Michael Romberg has compiled a list of articles about the People’s Vote – the referendum on the terms with the option to Remain. I recommend that you bookmark this article. You will then have the information to hand if a question comes up about how the referendum should be conducted or an argument that it should not be held. If there are questions that come up when campaigning that are not answered here please contact us so that we can try to provide answers.

In addition to our own blogs, key sources are UCL’s Constitution Unit and the Institute for Government – links to their work are marked as such. I would encourage you if you are interested to subscribe to their updates.


The Overall Plan for the People’s Vote

The Roadmap published by the People’s Vote campaign and written by Lord Kerr, drawing on a range of expert advice

On 9 August 2018, the UCL Constitution Unit set out seven questions that needed to be answered to assess whether a referendum was possible

On 9 October 2018, the UCL Constitution Unit published a report "The Mechanics of a Further Referendum on Brexit". The various UCL blogs linked to in this post are shortened versions of chapters of the full report.


Getting the Referendum is just the start - we must campaign now to win it

After the march – how to win the referendum

Why it’s still half and half in the opinion polls

Why we are starting 50 points behind where we should be

How to enable voters to really “take back control” – part 1 (we have to address Leavers' sovereignty concerns)

How to enable voters to really “take back control” – part 2 (what the political parties are offering)

Campaigning themes

L4E Vice Chair Nick Hopkinson’s compendium of arguments for Remain


The case for the referendum on the terms

The essential case: Leave had no plan. No-one takes a project from idea to implementation without reviewing the project plan.


Is there enough time for a referendum?/ how would a referendum be set up by Parliament

On 30 August 2018, the UCL Constitution Unit published a blog addressing how long it would take to hold a referendum

On 20 September 2018 the UCL Constitution Unit published a blog discussing whether the Article 50 time-table could be extended to allow for a referendum

The steps needed for a referendum

Why Parliament must focus on November as the date for the Meaningful Vote

Is December too late to set up the referendum?

On 16 April 2018 the Institute for Government published their analysis of the mechanics of how Parliament would consider the Withdrawal Agreement and Framework for Future Relations. The main discussion of the referendum is on pp24+

On 7 September 2018 the UCL Constitution Unit published an article discussing how a referendum would be set up

On 9 October 2018 the UCL Constitution Unit published the final article in its series setting out five scenarios in which a referendum might be set up and the implications for timing.


Will the terms be clear enough to allow a vote

How fixed will the terms be?

How clear will the terms be?

A warning about a vague “blah blah blah Brexit”

On 17 September 2018 the Institute for Government published an analysis of the options for the Brexit endgame. Their view of the referendum option – a rather downbeat assessment of whether the terms then available would be clear enough - is set out on pp 10+

What might happen at the Meaningful Parliamentary vote


Addressing arguments against something called a "referendum"/ betrayal/ we have Parliamentary sovereignty/ that's what the EU always does

Vagueness of our demands: is it a referendum we actually want

Risks from the decision to campaign for a “People’s Vote” rather than a “referendum on the terms of Brexit with the option to Remain”

Parliamentary sovereignty is an overstated argument against a referendum

A referendum on the terms is the honourable course

Dealing with Leavers’ assertion that “the EU always re-runs referenda until the electorate gets the answer right”

Dealing with Leavers' assertion that "the EU always ignores referenda it does not like - look at Greece"


Only a referendum can resolve Brexit

A General Election cannot resolve Brexit

Legal proceedings in the courts cannot solve Brexit – a political problem

There will not be a third referendum any time soon


What would the ballot paper look like

On 13 September 2018 the UCL Constitution Unit published an article considering what choice might be put on the ballot paper.

The most straightforward ballot paper

Three choices on the ballot paper

Two voting rounds

A choice only between two variants of Brexit would misunderstand how decisions are made


Remainers should not complain about 2016/ we should run with the franchise &c from 2016

If we are to have any purchase with 2016 Leave voters we have to accept the 2016 referendum as valid – though its mandate is provisional until there is a plan

The 2016 referendum had a valid way of reaching the result

The 2016 referendum was valid and democratic

That the 2016 referendum was “advisory” does not mean it can be set aside

The 2016 franchise was fair enough


A referendum would be divisive &c

Even so a people’s vote is the right way forward

How to make the People’s Vote a healing referendum

Addressing the statement that Government had said that the 2016 referendum would be implemented


Rules for the conduct of the referendum

The UCL Constitution Unit on 27 September 2018 published an article on the rules under which the referendum might be conducted, including regulating the rôle of government, financial regulations and digital campaigning


Lessons from 1975 for the Labour Party

Lessons from 1975 - a referendum avoids a split in the party

The divisions in the Labour Party are different from how they are normally perceived, making a bigger case for a referendum


Would holding a referendum lead the EU to offer a bad deal

How a referendum would interact with negotiations


Article 50 notification may be withdrawn without penalty

Article 50 is not for ever

We would not lose the existing opt-outs

Professor Alan Dashwood on revoking Article 50 notification

Confirmation that latest thinking is still that Article 50 notification may be withdrawn




The articles listed on this page reflect the views of their authors and not necessarily of London4Europe