1 December 2019
We know a Labour Government would hold a second EU referendum. But a new report out today says that a hung parliament will probably also lead to a second EU referendum.
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The Constitutional Unit at the University College London (UCL) has produced a new report that builds on one they published last year.
The report is called: “THE MECHANICS OF A FURTHER REFERENDUM ON BREXIT REVISITED: QUESTIONS FOR THE NEW PARLIAMENT” And it looks at the likely scenarios that would force a second referendum and how it would work. But as it makes absolutely clear, this all hinges on the the General Election result.
A second referendum would be the most likely result in two scenarios, says the report.
The first is where the Labour Party gets a majority and fulfils its manifesto promises.
The second is where the Tories end up with a minority government or a very slim and unstable majority.
Now the first of those is not a realistic possibility at present, but with 11 days to go to the General Election, then the second is something we should all be wary of.
I will also take the opportunity to point out here, that the report says that the minimum time required to organise and run a referendum would be 22 weeks.
That means that Jeremy Corbyn’s promise of re-negotiating the Withdrawal Agreement treaty in three months while preparing in tandem to hold a referendum on that treaty within six months, or 26 weeks, of getting into power, would be quite a tall order to meet.
And there is also another factor, that of the EU agreeing to another Article 50 extension for at least say six months for that referendum to take place.
In the past this has been agreed without too much difficulty, but there is a whole new EU Commission and Parliament and new Presidents all round – so who knows?
So a hung parliament would be extremely keen to get that extension organised as quickly as possible – but I think it may have a couple of issues to overcome.
There is also one really central point as well, which I’ll come in a bit.
Now the first of these issues MPs will have to resolve is the time it takes to organise themselves into a new government.
After the 2010 General Election, which resulted in the Tory Lib Dem coalition, it took five to six days to sort it all out.
If this were replicated now, we wouldn’t have any form of real government until at least the the 23rd of December.
And if it’s a Labour/SNP affair it might well take longer – unless they’ve already sorted a deal out of course. And if this came about, a true Brexit would be lost and the UK economy would be toast anyway – with two massively divisive referendums facing us too.
On the other hand, Boris might just have the numbers to keep his keys to Number Ten. Or the opposition might not be able to agree terms between themselves.
And in that case, because he has already been stymied by parliament once or twice before, I would expect that Boris and his team would have something planned for this type of hung parliament scenario.
And should a Boris led minority government occur, you will see the Remain side quickly lawyering up and getting the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh ready to rock and roll, while all the usual suspects crawl out of the woodwork to stick their oars in.
And this would more than likely include some of the names that have found themselves very recently out in the cold electorally – the likes of maybe Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke spring readily to mind.
Parliament itself will be reconvening on Tuesday the 17th of December in accordance with the Royal Proclamation issued when parliament was dissolved for the General Election.
And with a majority Boris will probably crack on with things as planned so as to get his Withdrawal Agreement treaty through and ratified before January the 31st.