What is the scope of the Brexit mandate? And when will it be discharged?

10th April 2018

There are many Remainers who dispute that there is any “mandate” for Brexit.

The referendum was advisory, they contend, and in any case there was only a small majority.  They will also point to (denied) allegations of serious irregularities about the Leave campaign.  And, including the non-voters, the majority of the population did not vote for Brexit.

They perhaps do have a point, but that is not the point of this post.

This post accepts there was indeed a mandate.

The questions posed here are (1) what is the scope of that mandate and, once its scope is determined, (2) when will that mandate be discharged?


Before we can answer those questions, however, we need to be clear as to what a mandate is, and is not.

In general and political terms: a mandate is an instruction: a thing which is mandatory, a thing you are mandated to do.

In UK politics, the notion is that such a mandate usually comes from a political party having won a general election on a published manifesto.

The party then has a mandate to implement the promises in the manifesto.

This sort of mandate is not strong: manifesto promises can be disregarded, and even reversed.  For example, the poll tax was in the 1987 Conservative manifesto, and was reversed in 1990.

General election mandates are thereby quite weak stuff.  (The only practical use is that this sort of mandate means the House of Lords will not delay or block measures set out in a manifesto of the a party that wins a majority.)

Mandates from referendums (correct plural…) are different.  Even when the result is advisory (that is, there is no direct legal or constitutional consequence of the result), the mandate has a certain political force unlike a general election result.

There was a dedicated referendum on a specific question.  The answer cannot be shrugged off as easily as an unwanted promise in a broad manifesto.

But the problem is that with mandates from referendums, there is no natural expiry date.  A mandate from a general election lasts only until the next general election.

A mandate from a referendum, however, may not go stale.  Unless there is a further referendum, there is no obvious way the mandate can come to an end, other than being discharged.  Even a general election – which would be on a range of issues and policies – would not mean a referendum mandate comes to an end.

So unless it is somehow reversed, a referendum mandate needs to be discharged: what has been instructed needs to be carried out.

The mandate for Brexit

The mandate for Brexit flows from the referendum.

The referendum question was whether the UK should remain in, or leave, the EU.

On 29 March 2019, by automatic operation of law, the UK will leave the EU – unless something currently unforeseen and exceptional happens.

The UK and EU are negotiating a withdrawal agreement which would mean a “transition” period (in truth a standstill period) until at least 31 December 2020.

The UK will in effect remain in the EU even though technically it is no longer a member.

This transition means that the legal fact of Brexit (29 March 2019) is uncoupled from the practical fact of Brexit (31 December 2020).

In the early days of Brexit, the form of Brexit – hard or soft or whatever – presupposed that the legal fact and practical fact of Brexit would be close in time.

This presupposition made it easy to say that the mandate was for a soft or a hard Brexit – to interpret the referendum result as meaning more than the legal fact.

But now Brexit is to take place at law with there being no certainty as to what happens at the end of the transition period.

This makes it easier to contend that the mandate for Brexit will be discharged on 29 March 2019.  The instruction provided by the referendum result will have been carried out.

What does the discharge of a mandate mean?

When a mandate is discharged, it comes to an end.  The instruction is carried out.

This means that the mandate has no further purchase.  Nothing else need to be done.

Of course, some Leavers will aver that the referendum mandate really meant not only the legal fact of departure on 29 March 2019 but also something else, which should happen at the end of the transition period.  “Brexit plus” in a way.

But the connection between the legal fact and practical fact of Brexit makes such a position more difficult.

And if the mandate is discharged on 29 March 2019, and thereby has no further purchase, then what happens at the end of the transition period is on a clear slate.

My preference would be for an Association Agreement, whereby the UK remains part of the Single Market and Customs Union, even though formally outside EU institutions.  A conversion of the transition agreement into a permanent relation.  (I am not personally fussed if the UK is a formal member of the EU or not.)

Others may want the UK to rejoin as soon as possible.  Some Leavers may want to have more divergence.

Whatever: each of these options can be addressed on their merits, and the transition arrangements mean that the “ring is held”.  What will be missing, because it will be discharged, is a “mandate” which prioritises one option over another.

Why Remainers should think beyond 29 March 2019

Brexit may not happen.  The politics may change, which means the UK does not leave the EU as a legal fact on 29 March 2019.

But if that outcome is unlikely, then the issue becomes what happens at the end of the transition period.

And that debate will be better if the mandate is regarded as having been performed.  Each proposal can be assessed properly.

That is why I think those few Remainers disputing there was ever a true mandate are mistaken, like generals fighting the battles of the last war.

A stronger position for those who want the UK to rejoin the EU, and for those like me who want a close Association Agreement without formal membership, will then not to deny the mandate but to accept it, and then move on.

This is not to say that anyone should “get behind” Brexit.  Don’t do that, kids.  Only people who believe in Brexit should get behind it.

Instead let the Leavers have their mandate, and then move beyond it.

Unless Brexit is somehow stopped before 29 March 2019 the fundamental question becomes what follows the transition period.

And to accept the mandate is over and done with will place contributors in that debate in a stronger position than those who deny it ever existed.

The key is to properly scope and then discharge the Brexit mandate, rather than to deny it ever existed.


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35 thoughts on “What is the scope of the Brexit mandate? And when will it be discharged?”

  1. In regard to mandate, I think you are missing a key point. After her “Easter stroll” Mrs May decided to call an election on the basis that she needed a thumping majority to carry out the Brexit mandate of the referendum. It was a specific plank of her election; to disarm the dark forces of remain in Labour, the other opposition parties and The Lords, who sought to frustrate Brexit. History shows us that she did not get this mandate, indeed, she was returned in a majority government only clinging to power via grubby deals with the DUP. One could argue that the people had spoken and did not endorse her “Brexit means Brexit” stance.
    As to the legitimacy of the referendum, 1.5 million British citizens living in Europe were disenfranchised – how can the “advisory” poll have legitimacy if (arguably) those most affected by a leave decision were denied their democratic rights?

  2. The referendum question was whether the UK should remain in, or leave, the EU.

    What exactly was meant by ‘the EU’ was never clearly defined. Some said it was the SM, others the CU, others again simply said ‘out’. Were we to leave some bits and to remain in others?

    How can there be a mandate for something when you don’t know what it is?

    1. If the vote was ‘to leave the EU’, why is the UK also leaving Euratom? That wasn’t really discussed before the vote, and only nerds, anoraks, nuclear physicists, radiologists and oncologists would have fully understood the significance.

      Where does the mandate to leave Euratom come from?

      1. There is no referendum mandate to leave Euratom, only a parliamentary decision seemingly made in ignorance or disregard of the fact that it is not an EU institution.

        1. Quite so; neither a mandate nor a manifesto commitment. As the ‘will of the people’ wasn’t expressed, does this mean then that the government can pick and choose what treaties it decides to honour and those it regards as disposable? Does this then mean that the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and treaty can be unilaterally revoked if it is seen to be an impediment?

    2. The European Union is an association of states created and governed by treaty. There is no doubt which countries are part of the EU and which countries aren’t. It is possible for third countries to share in some of the EU’s activities by agreement – for example, to be in much of the single market like Norway, or in a customs union like Turkey, but that does not make them part of the EU. The referendum only asked about remaining in or leaving the EU, nothing else. That is all there is an actual mandate for.

  3. One of my wife’s incontinent relations is 82 years old and joined a singles website to find a younger woman. He gave them a mandate to take money from his bank which they did. After a month he complained that they were just sending him ‘Grannys’ (don’t ask!) but they continued to take his money and are demanding that he continues his membership for a minimum of 6 months. I will use your notes to explain to him what a mandate means and that he just needs to accept it and move on :) My feelings are that the mandate for ‘Brexit meaning Brexit’ expired at the last General Election and remains a dead parrot.

  4. I question the blanket assumption that the “mandate” must be respected, given the alleged irregularities in the campaign. If they have merit surely the referendum should at least be re-run if for no other reason than the true “will of the people” may be being denied by proceeding on the basis of the original result.

    For example, what if it was proved beyond doubt that widespread fraud occurred, enough to push the result over the edge. Does the mandate still have to be respected then? Irrespective of whether the referendum was advisory or not, if the result was obtained illegally then this is not a democratic process, it’s a coup.

    Re: Thinking beyond Brexit day. I agree with this, but I also think it’s worth remainers continuing to call the result into disrepute, simply to keep the pressure on remain-supporting MPs (which includes most of Labour).

    At the end of the day it’s down to parliament whether it allows the UK to leave or not, as “automatic operation of international law” aside, it seems likely the A50 notification could be withdrawn if parliament decided on that course of action.

    If remain-supporting MPs believe the referendum result was invalid or at least questionably it then becomes much easier for them to think again.

  5. Given that the law recognises a ‘Mandatory’ referendum that instructs Parliament what was the legal intention in defining one as ‘Advisory’. It is clearly not one that creates a mandate. The intension was to create a vehicle for a public opinion on a single issue to demonstrate that the Government cares what the masses think. However it was designed such that Parliament acting as is their duty, to decide whether or not to take the public’s advice would act in the UK’s best interests. The design failed as it didn’t take into account a politician’s instinct to save their career when faced with the choice of that or do their duty and incur the wrath of those who in the main have no idea how the EU works or what will happen if the UK leaves.

  6. “The Ring is held”

    Actually a pretty good metaphor for the whole sorry business of Brexit. A very shiny thing that promises power to whoever has it, but winds up causing nothing but chaos, destruction and corruption. The Tom Bombadil “out of sight, out of mind” solution of standstill transition does nothing to avert this.

    Meanwhile, the Business Elves are plotting their escape to the Gray Havens, essential treaties between nations are being discarded on purely ideological grounds, it turns out the Uruk-Hai hordes at the borders were just a ruse by Wormtounged would-be viziers (but it’s now too late, they’ve dug too deep into a nasty seam of xenophobia and the Balrog has duly turned up), and Little Englandshire is about to get scoured by disaster capitalists and one-sided FTAs.

    All of which comes back to whether it must be unmade in the same referendum fires that forged it, or whether its Truename can be uncovered, and its power rendered inert, by the will of Parliament.

  7. Guess I’m one of the generals still fighting the last war. For me, the referendum was like a mugging, since as a British citizen living overseas I was denied a vote, and I can’t just accept the mugging, forgive my assailant and move on – I still hope to stop Brexit and it won’t be over until the fat lady sings. Quite apart from the uncertainty into which Brexit has thrown our future, our status, our ability to work, our ability to remain in the country that we love, I estimate that we are down over £17k in lost earnings, extra paperwork (supplying certificates and having translations done to regulate our status) and language lessons to prepare for citizenship tests since the night of the vote – money that, as relatively low earners, we can ill afford.

  8. Your blog refers to mandate ‘strength’ and ‘weakness’, which presumably means that a mandate is not simple binary matter, and that there are shades of grey that correspond to an imperative around their enactment. Why the meaning of a mandate should be different in a referendum versus an election manifesto is not clear to me.

    Either way, the mandate in the spotlight here comes from a rather small majority in the EUref, a Brexit campaign that we now know made undeliverable promises (£350m per week for the NHS etc), and growing evidence of interference (Russia, Cambridge Analytica etc). As a basis for major constitutional change the mandate here seems to fall well short of a clear instruction.

  9. Excellent analysis – works for me. I voted remain – don’t like Brexit – won’t get behind it but am willing to move past it. If we end up with an EEA/EFTA style agreement (perhaps even some form of membership) as part of a comprehensive association agreement with the EU, so be it. That’s much better than a hard brexit or a chaotic brexit. Sure it is not ideal – but we have to make the best we can of a difficult situation. This would probably be the best outcome for both the UK and the EU.

  10. “So unless it is somehow reversed, a referendum mandate needs to be discharged: So unless it is somehow reversed, a referendum mandate needs to be discharged: what has been instructed needs to be carried out.

    I am having problems with this assertion. There can be no doubt that the Conservative Government by virtue of the referendum result has a mandate i.e. has both legal and political “permission” or license to proceed with Brexit as a matter of policy and governance. However, since the legislation allowing for the referendum clearly stated that such was advisory not prescriptive, then it does not follow that “what has been instructed needs to be carried out”. The Government did not receive an “instruction” but only a desire or opinion from a very slim majority of voters who decided to participate. It would indeed be a bold government which simply acted as though the referendum had not happened and the result need not be taken into account, but the government has the obligation to determine what the specific objections to the EU were and which were worthy of serious consideration given the costs and consequences of leaving the EU. Some of the objections or perhaps “opinions”of the leave side can be seen to be emotional fantasy, confused and contradictory, or simply bigoted or ignorant; others could be seen as more significant, one being immigration. There are ways that immigration can be better controlled and managed without flouting the EU principle of free movement and remaining in the EU. There are many issues of sovereign jurisdiction which can be improved or managed within the existing EU. The simple statement that the UK would not support measures explicitly promoting “ever closer union” and would exercise veto power or demand opt outs as necessary, would do much to address the concerns around a drive for a federal Europe. A strong and competent government would have demonstrated its leadership, and respect for both Leavers and Remainers, by communicating clearly and in detail its plans to address the legitimate and strongly held concerns of the Leavers in ways which would not harm the country. This Government was and is clearly not capable of such leadership and is failing both sides of the referendum. Where are our “elites” when we need them? Leadership and political courage across the spectrum can pull us back but time is quickly running out.

  11. As I have stated many times, I accepted the result, despite serious misgivings over the process which would have been equally valid had Remain won in the same circumstances.

    However, I believe we are being grossly negligent to treat the vote as anything other than a mandate in principle or, if you like, giving permission to the Government to negotiate our Leaving.

    I strongly disagree this was a blanket Mandate that instructed the Government to place whatever interpretation, they liked on what “Leave” meant, opening the door for the imposition of an extreme version of Brexit that may well not have been in the minds of many voters. It would not have to be many of them for the Mandate to be removed.

    I cannot accept that having given that permission, the public should not be asked whether the Government and Parliament has delivered a deal which achieves what they believed they were voting for in 2016?

    I know time is running out to organise a Referendum but I also know, if the political will was there, it would be achievable.

  12. This all makes perfect sense to me, and focusing on what happens after the mandate is discharged is important and necessary. But given the fragility of the government’s majority and the difficulties still to be dealt with in the negotiation, it still makes sense to harry our politicians and seek a significant change in public opinion if you are opposed to Brexit. 11 months and a few days is along time in politics, and pursuing such a course can weaken the position of those who will seek to push for “brexit plus” once we are out of the EU.

  13. I would like to contribute with referendum examples from Sweden.

    In 1955, there was a referendum on introducing right traffic. 83% of the voters said no. Was the mandate of this referendum respected?


    In 1963, the Riksdag voted to ignore the referendum result and implement right traffic anyway in September 1967.

    In 1980, a referendum on nuclear power was held. Three options were on the table: 1) Keep and expand nuclear power; 2) Start dismantling the nuclear reactors; 3) Dismantle nuclear reactors, but with reason.

    Option 3) won. Was the mandate respected? In practicality no. So far, only three reactors have been shut down and there won’t be any further dismantlings in the observable future.

    If anything, I have come to see that referendums are tools for the populist rather than a healthy democracy.

    As Mr DAG has spoken about before, parliamentary sovereignty shall reign the day. I can only agree with this.

    ‘The people’ are simply not as well informed as is desired for referendums to be the driving force of democracy. This is due to the possibility of voting with emotion/passion/prejudice rather than strict rationality.

    I think it is perfectly safe to ignore the (advisory) 23 June 2016 referendum on the basis of it not being in the national interest (as the Swedish examples have shown). This is what a Parliament should be doing.

  14. “We need to be clear as to what a mandate is, and is not. In general and political terms: a mandate is an instruction: a thing which is mandatory, a thing you are mandated to do.”

    Just ‘clear’? Not ‘very clear’? ;)

    There seem to be two distinct definitions for “mandate”:

    1. An official order or commission to do something.
    2. The authority to carry out a policy, regarded as given by the electorate to a party or candidate that wins an election.

    You seem to be using the first definition here (“So unless it is somehow reversed, a referendum mandate needs to be discharged: what has been instructed needs to be carried out”; “Even a general election – which would be on a range of issues and policies – would not mean a referendum mandate comes to an end.”)

    If you use the second definition of mandate instead, this problem doesn’t exist. You can ask for, and be given the authority to do something, and then choose not to use it, and that’s fine. I would suggest that this authority can be seen to naturally expire when the person is no longer in a position to use it; therefore, a subsequent general election that resulted in a change of government *would* naturally bring it to an end.

    On a practical/political level, for “Remainers”, I’m still not persuaded that it’s better to let Brexit happen, and then try to get back in afterwards:

    “that debate will be better if the mandate is regarded as having been performed […] to accept the mandate is over and done with will place contributors in that debate in a stronger position than those who deny it ever existed.”

    I can accept that there may well be a higher quality of debate in this scenario. The alternatives (government abandons Brexit; parliament votes down Brexit agreement; second referendum rejects Brexit) will probably all lead to further anger and polarisation.

    However, many people may think that further baying episodes of Question Time, and fractious arguments down the pub, are a price worth paying to avert the perceived damaging consequences of Brexit – and that economic decline is a greater threat to faith in liberal democracy than further political meanderings.

  15. A good question which illustrates why referenda are a bad idea. They drive a coach and horses through the established political processes and leave the professional participants with no legitimate tools of exercising their usual power.

    As a Leaver I’d say most people voted to leave the EU because they wanted to leave the EU; stop paying the money, end FOM, have control over our laws, strike trade deals in our own name. The mandate ends when that is delivered. If anything less than that is delivered, then the UK political establishment runs a significant risk of having a large number of people saying they were denied proper Brexit and the sore that is the UK in the EU will continue to fester away.

    I understand a lot of Remainers are unhappy about this, but really Remainers need to just shut up at the moment and wait. If Remainers continue to try and interfere to prevent or frustrate Brexit then Leavers will continue to have legitimate grounds for saying that proper Brexit as voted for by the majority was never implemented. That would leave Remainers in the worst of all worlds as being held responsible for a failed Brexit. If Remainers are right that Britain outside the EU will be worse off and we should re-enter, then Remainers need to wait for it to be crystal clear that this is a result of Brexit as Leavers voted for it and then start organising politically for a return.

    1. “Remainers just need to shut up”. Euro-sceptics began agitating against the referendum result on the day it was delivered in 1975 and they were quite right to do so.
      A Referendum does not eliminate the right of those who oppose it to continue that opposition or seek to influence implementation.
      This was far from being a single issue question with only one way to interpret the result.
      The only person you can reliably speak for with regards to why leavers voted, is you. You don’t have any more of a mandate to speak for others than I do.

      1. The suggestion that Remainers need to shut up is a tactical one not a legal one. The comparison with Eurosceptics after 1975 is not a valid one; having won the referendum the Pro-EU side needed to do nothing as we were already in the EU, whereas Leave having won this referendum something now needs to be done, and in interfering in that something the Remain side are effectively trying to overturn the result of the referendum.

        Many Remainers are so religiously obsessed with the EU that they seem unaware of how much damage they risk doing to political life in the UK. Referring to the referendum as a “advisory Referendum” for instance is clearly at odds with what the Prime Minister of the day said prior to the referendum, which is that whatever we voted for would be implemented. Overturning the referendum decision by whatever route would be a massive mistake. Remainers may believe their intellectual superiority and hence inherent right to overturn democratic decisions they disagree with is self-evident but the one thing that unites all those who voted Leave is they strongly disagree with that view.

        1. “…having won the referendum the Pro-EU side needed to do nothing as we were already in the EU,..” Alas, the battle to realise the vision of the EU is a permanent war. Both so-called sides (such neat vocabulary unfitting to the myriad battles whose outcomes are the treaties) have continued in an ongoing never ending dialectical struggle to produce outcomes which reflect their evolving visions since 1975. To expect one side or the other to “shut-up” so that the other can “just get on with” beggaring the nation and disrupting our continent is, alas, naive. P.S. thanks for this piece.

  16. Whatever one thinks of the rules under which the referendum was fought (and I disliked the restricted franchise, amongst other things) that was the basis on which parliament determined it should be held. Unless it does indeed turn out that the result was tainted by unlawful behaviour by the Leave campaign it’s hard to argue that the result does not provide a political mandate for Brexit. The question was a precise one: remain in or leave the EU. Membership of the EU is an absolutely certain legal concept. France, Germany and Italy are members, without any doubt. Norway, Switzerland and Turkey aren’t members without any doubt, although each has a close relationship with the EU. Barring significant political developments the UK will cease to be an EU Member State by operation of law in March 2019 when the Article 50 notice period comes to an end. It’s irrelevant that, for our own convenience, we’ll probably have entered into a new agreement for a transition period which on the face of it looks rather like (second class) membership, because in law it simply won’t be. The mandate will have expired the day we leave and will stay dead however long we decide to remain in the single market and customs union and subject to the ECJ. Brexiters may try to argue otherwise but I think they will have some difficulty, since it is rather bizarre to contend that a country is still part of the EU when it has quite clearly ceased to be an EU Member State. After next March the referendum mandate will have been carried out in full and the UK ‘s future relationship with Europe becomes a matter for normal parliamentary and electoral politics.

  17. The analysis is, naturally, both impeccable and elegantly put. It is very appealing; in my respectful opinion it is the author’s best (so far).

    I disagree with it, though, in two respects:

    1. the 2016 referendum may, or may not, have produced a mandate of some description; what it also achieved was to overturn and, perhaps, extinguish a centrist political consensus in the UK that had become established since 1997.

    By this light the referendum has been waylaid or hijacked; various shades of ideological preference now compete for ascendancy and the danger is that the UK will enter a lengthy period of instability until this struggle is resolved.

    As in the 2016 referendum, we are set upon re-inventing the wheel. Mr Green’s thoughtful view seeks to impose a reasoned and rational pattern upon what is, I respectfully suggest, an organic and emotional process that is not amenable to rational analysis. It is redolent of experienced counsel patiently explaining to a wealthy and self-willed client that he ought to re-consider a cherished course of action: counsel is right, of course, but one cannot help but suspect that an awful lot of time and resources is going to be wasted before the client finally – and very reluctantly – accepts the advice.

    2. a substantial – perhaps now even the majority – view in the UK to ‘remain’. This both lends force to the arguments in favour of another referendum on what ‘leave’ actually entails (as opposed to promised), and tends to justify the argument that ‘only another referendum can kill a referendum’.

    Both points are also, of course, arguments against referenda (also correct plural) in general.

  18. When I placed my vote in the Referendum, I knew that my individual vote was not an instruction. Clearly the aggregate vote carried greater weight, and the outcome was to be one which was only advisory and therefore not an instruction. There were two possible outcomes: to remain would maintain the status quo of the U.K. being a grumbling and uncomfortable member often sceptical of the EU with all its faults, yet with all the special treatments and opt-outs. To leave would be a nebulous and indeterminate decision with consequences so vague that no-one could possibly have regarded it as an instruction.
    If that referendum result was a mandate for anything, then a wallet-slamming drunkard in a Bentley showroom demanding the most expensive car on the premises, and receiving a 1982 Skoda for £350m in the morning, must also get behind their previous night’s mandate.

  19. Well, if the government was arguing for an Association Agreement inside the SM and CU, with various other institutions tacked on, then it would have less opposition. But the government is determined to exceed the mandate that is fulfilled by that outcome and is over-reaching with red lines that were not on the ballot paper in the referendum. Therefore we have to continue to resist.

  20. Quitters have been so cavalier with the truth (£350M/wk for NHS, ‘no-one is talking about leaving the single market’) that I doubt they will accept that the ‘discharge of the mandate’ has ever been delivered.

    There is very little sense on ‘delivering’ something as vaguely specified as ‘leave the EU’. The question was designed to be rejected, not affirmed!

    Moreover, if there was manipulation or fraud (VL funds, Cambridge Analytica), or the conduct of the referendum was compromised by a distorted electorate (no 16-18s, no EU citizens in UK, of Brits in EU for >15y) then the ‘mandate’ is also compromised. The electorate issue is important: all of these groups are legitimate stakeholders.

  21. Currently prediction markets have departure from the EU on schedule as about a 65% probability. Delayed departure is about 20% and staying in is about 15%. It seems reasonable to me that remainers should carry on fighting for remain because it is more than a remote possibility. Similarly a football team that is two goals down at half time would not give up. However, views may differ on whether market probabilities are realistic.

  22. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this.

    We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post.
    I’m very glad to see such great info being shared freely out

  23. It is a fundamental part of the British Constitution that no Parliament is beholden to its predecessors. So as it was the 2015 Parliament that passed the EU Referendum Act, the 2017 Parliament is not bound by the decision to abide by the referendum result.

    The result of such an action in itself may well cause much popular – and tabloid – outrage. But given that parliamentary sovereignty was ostensibly the reason for the referendum in the first place, not one should complain if this current parliament asserted itself.

    I did notice that somewhere in this article – or maybe one of the comments – it was stated that the referendum was purely advisory. I have tried ploughing through the Act, but haven’t found any reference to that. Could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks

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