IN ACCORDANCE with procedure, and as previously reported, the Petitions Committee met to discuss the contents of the petition calling for a second referendum on the matter of exit from the European Union, and has issued the following response to those who signed:
“The Petitions Committee has decided to schedule a House of Commons debate on this petition. The debate will take place on September 5 at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall, the second debating chamber of the House of Commons. The debate will be opened by Ian Blackford MP.
The Committee has decided that the huge number of people signing this petition means that it should be debated by MP’s. The Petitions Committee would like to make clear that, in scheduling this debate, they are not supporting the call for a second referendum. The debate will allow MP’s to put forward a range of views on behalf of their constituents. At the end of the debate, a Government Minister will respond to the points raised.
A debate in Westminster Hall does not have the power to change the law, and won’t end with the House of Commons deciding whether or not to have a second referendum. Moreover, the petition – which was opened on May 25, well before the referendum – calls for the referendum rules to be changed. It is now too late for the rules to be changed retrospectively. It will be up to the Government to decide whether it wants to start the process of agreeing a new law for a second referendum.
The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MP’s. It is independent from government. You can find out more about the committee on its website www.parliament.uk/petitions-committee/role.
Considering that both David Cameron and new Prime Minister Theresa May have made it clear that they don’t support a second referendum, it would appear that the result will be a foregone conclusion, but at least the matter will be debated again.