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It's Official: There Will Not Be a Second EU Referendum

Under Theresa May, at least.

by Salma Haidrani
30 August 2016, 3:27pm

(Photo: Chris Bethell)

It's official: there won't be a second EU referendum – under Tory Prime Minister Theresa May, at least. A spokesman for May revealed: "The Prime Minister is very clear there will be no second referendum." He added that May also has no plans to call a general election, as "there is no need".

May is expected to trigger Article 50 in early 2017. She formerly said she wouldn't trigger it before the end of this year, and commentators have suggested she might delay it longer than early 2017 because the government's new Brexit and International Trade departments aren't ready to enter the formal negotiation process. "What is important is that we do this in the right timescale and we do it to get the right deal for the UK," she has said.

The EU referendum saw a 72 percent turnout; 17.4 million people took to the polling booths in June, and the majority voted to leave the EU. Following the Brexit vote, a petition demanding a second referendum was signed by more than 4.1 million people, becoming the most-signed petition in British history. At the time, the Foreign Office rejected the call, saying the "decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU."

The creator of the petition, William Oliver Healey, has since distanced himself from it, describing himself as its "creator, nothing more". He also vented at the Remain campaign: "I am genuinely appalled by the behaviour of some of the Remain campaign, how they are conducting themselves post-referendum... The referendum was democratically endorsed and I believe this was a true reflection of the mood of the country."

May ruling out a second referendum follows Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith saying he would call for one if he was elected Labour leader.

"There are many people out there who voted in good faith for Brexit and who felt they were doing the right thing for their families and communities, and I respect them for taking that decision. But I think a lot of people I know are saying to themselves, 'It wasn't the right decision.' A lot of people are angry that they were quite clearly misled by the Brexit campaign," he said. "We should give them another chance. That does mean a second referendum or a general election when the terms are clear. The Labour government should be committing to that."

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