LETTER: Was the referendum result advisory or binding?

Amid the confusion and muddle of post-Brexit, there is a basic question needing to be answered: was the referendum advisory or binding?

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 6:30 pm
Britain has decided

We are often thinking and acting as if it was binding – Brexit is Brexit, says Mrs May – no argument.

But if, as some clever people, including AC Grayling, are saying, this referendum was advisory, then it remains up to Parliament to decide what to do with the advice.

Parliament is not going to be sitting for quite a while. When it reconvenes, it should perhaps decide a number of things about the referendum.

Was the 50 per cent pass mark high enough to trigger such a vast change as wholesale Brexit?

Was the fairly high involvement level high enough? Was the margin of difference between leave and remain appropriate as a platform for colossal change?

Parliament made mistakes, I would say, in the setting up of the referendum, with too big and too complex a subject to be decided in this way.

They have a chance to redeem themselves when they come to review the advice – if that is what it was – we gave them.

Paul King

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