There is no chance that a petition signed by more than two million Brits will succeed in a second EU referendum, according to a top election expert.
Not until at least the next general election where the new Conservative leadership might be dragging its heal in leaving the EU, and an opposition party with a mandate to stay could then ask for a second referendum.
The Evening Standard reports:
Professor John Curtice, who produced the only general election exit poll to predict a Conservative victory, said the referendum would be unlikely to form a campaigning issue for some time – let alone spark another public vote.
Thursday’s referendum saw 17.4 million votes cast to leave the EU, compared with 16.1 million for remaining part of the bloc, with a turnout of 72.2 per cent.
In response, more than 1.7 million people have signed an online petition calling for the Government to implement a rule that “if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75%, there should be another referendum”.
Prof Curtice said: “How many people voted in favour of Leave? Seventeen million. One million is chicken feed by comparison.
“It’s no good people signing the petition now, they should have done it before. Even then, these petitions don’t always mean a great deal.
“It has passed the 100,000 mark for it to be debated in Parliament. All that means is that some MPs will say, ‘It’s a terrible shame’, others will say, ‘Hallelujah’. Then that’s the end of it.”
The clamour to add signatures to the Government website-hosted petition comes amid dissatisfaction from voters who wanted the country to remain part of the union, while anecdotes began to emerge from those who said they regretted voting to leave.
The poll resulted in David Cameron announcing his resignation as Prime Minister while the pound slumped to its weakest level for three decades.
Prof Curtice said: “Mainstream political parties have been divided on Europe. The parties’ supporters have been divided. Nobody is going to want to campaign prominently on this.”
The professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde added: “If Boris Johnson is running the Government and it (disengagement from the EU) is taking a long time to be implemented, two years down the line we could have another poll showing people actually want to reverse the decision and remain in.
“Then there could be a situation where the opposition party in a general election have a mandate to hold a new referendum on it.”
More than 130,000 people have signed a separate petition on the Change.org website, calling on new London mayor Sadiq Khan to declare the capital independent from the UK and apply to join the European Union.
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