Brexit: Petition calling for second EU referendum reaches three million signatures

Petition was started by Leave campaigner concerned Remain would win, it has emerged

Harry Cockburn
Sunday 26 June 2016 10:17 BST
Demonstrators at a protest against the pro-Brexit outcome of the UK's referendum
Demonstrators at a protest against the pro-Brexit outcome of the UK's referendum (AFP/Getty)

A petition demanding a second referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union has reached 3 million signatures.

Thursday’s referendum saw a 72% turnout of 17.4 million people, with 52% voting to leave the EU against 48% voting to remain.

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The petition calls for the government to annul the vote if the remain or leave vote was less than 60% from a turnout of less than 75%. It has now reached over 3 million signatures.

It has emerged the petition was started by William Oliver Healey, an English Democrats activist and Leave campaigner, who was concerned the Remain camp would win.

He has published a Facebook post in which he describes the petition as being "hijacked", and as Leave won the election, he now describes it as the "will of the British People".

Government petitions which reach over 100,000 signatures must be considered for debate in parliament.

Meanwhile, senior Labour MPs have called for action to prevent a Brexit from going ahead.

Brexit - Some Leave voters are regretting their vote

Tottenham MP David Lammy said: “Wake up. We do not have to do this. We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in parliament. Our sovereign parliament needs to now vote on whether we should exit the EU.

“The referendum was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The leave campaign’s platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn’t voted to leave. Parliament now needs to decide whether we should go forward with Brexit and there should be a vote in parliament next week.”

But experts have said the petition is unlikely to make any difference, despite the huge number of people signing it. Speaking to the Press Association, elections expert Professor John Curtice, said: “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.”

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