A Second Referendum Could Be Required Before Britain Can Leave The EU

13 Mar 2018, 35 mins ago

Anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaigners are mounting a legal challenge that claims a second referendum is required before Britain can leave the EU. 

Their case builds on the 2011 ‘referendum lock’, introduced by David Cameron, which prevents any significant change to relations with the EU without the public’s say. According the Best for Britain group, the 2011 ‘referendum lock’ makes negotiations illegal without a second referendum because the planned transition period is likely to involve a big transfer of powers to Brussels. This decision could mean that the EU would likely have the final say over whether Britain can remain a member of different EU bodies. 

The 2011 ‘referendum lock’ was introduced to placate Eurosceptics in the Conservative party long before Brexit talks were ever in the works, however, now it could be used to put a brake on Brexit altogether. 

The Best for Britain legal challenge has garnered support from former British Prime Minister John Major who says the British people have ‘every right’ to reconsider Brexit.

Additionally, former Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve believes it ‘raises an important constitutional issue’, and that the public should be consulted and informed on any significant EU Treaty change. 

The head of Best for Britain, Eloise Todd, said: ‘The 2011 Act brought in assurances that any significant changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU would be put to a people’s vote. This case is about giving people the right to make sure their voice matters on the biggest change in our country’s direction since the Second World War,’

The EU Withdrawal Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will scrap the 2011 Act, however until then, the legal challenge will argue that the UK is negotiating a deal with the EU under existing British law.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2018