How long would it take to organise a new Brexit referendum?

Analysis: If Greece managed to hold a referendum in eight days in 2015, why can’t we? John Rentoul looks at the potential hurdles facing a quick return to the polls

Sunday 03 February 2019 21:47 GMT
But when will you get it?
But when will you get it? (Angela Christofilou)

One of the practical obstacles faced by the campaign for a second referendum on leaving the EU is the view that it cannot be held before the planned Brexit date of 29 March. That means that if the UK is to hold another referendum, it will have to apply to extend the Article 50 deadline.

But why does it take so long to hold a new referendum? Why did the Constitution Unit at UCL estimate that it would take six months? Surely the process could be speeded up in what is, after all, a national emergency?

The short answer is that a lot of rules for the conduct of referendums were invented for the 2011 referendum on the voting system and for the 2016 EU referendum – the first national referendums since the first ever in 1975, which confirmed our membership of the European Economic Community.

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