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Jon Worth @jonworth
, 17 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I have long maintained that a second referendum on #Brexit is the only way out of the UK's current conundrum.

But a few aspects of this have been nagging at me.

Now having been put on the spot by @edaross I am going to explore this a bit more in a thread.

First, if a #PeoplesVote is to happen, it requires an extension of the #Article50 negotiation period - because it would take a good 20 weeks to organise such a referendum, as @ConUnit_UCL argue convincingly here:…

At the time of writing we are 123 days, or just over 18 weeks away from exit day 29.3.2019

If Commons has its "Meaningful Vote" (that failing might be the starting gun for a referendum process) on 10 December that is 104 days, less than 15 weeks from exit day. Too tight.

(If the UK Parliament cannot pass any Withdrawal Agreement, and because both the UK and the EU side want to avoid No Deal, I assume that an extension to the Article 50 period would be granted.)

That leads us to the first complex issue: the European Parliament elections.

I see no major practical barrier to organise such an election in the UK as I explain here:…
BUT that puts a spanner in the works for the *timing* of a People's Vote

EP elections 23-26 May

- People's Vote b4 23 May is also very tight

- On 23 May, same day as UK electing MEPs, would send turnout through the roof - but the referendum would overshadow elections EU-wide

- So sometime later (say June...?) would probably be the best bet

And then to the *big* issue - what should the question be?

Here I genuinely cannot make up my mind. Views on this most welcome.

The simplest question would be:

May's Deal

But this actually eliminates the option that is second most popular just now - No Deal.

If you go for what Justine Greening has suggested - a 3 option referendum, you have:

No Deal
May's Deal

But that throws up all kinds of headaches.

Leighton Andrews rightly questions how campaigns for this would be organised:…

And I am not sure whether the 1997 Scottish Parliament two question referendum is an adequate example - Q1 the establishment of the Parliament was much more important then Q2 on taxation powers

You could ask the population to rank the options 1, 2, 3 - but is that actually possible to communicate to the population adequately, and in such a short time?

Vernon Bogdanor cites the example of a 1992 New Zealand referendum where a question - to reform the electoral system - was posed to the population, and then - the options of *what* reform - happened a week later:…

Also as UCL again points out, *clarity* is needed in such a referendum - that was precisely the problem in 2016, because we roughly knew what Remain meant, but did not know what Leave meant (trying to interpret this is still ongoing)…

I think Remain (if referendum happens thanks to an Art 50 extension) is clear - it is the current terms.

May's Deal is just about clear enough - future relationship plans need some fleshing out still.

But No Deal? Here we are told everything from paradise to chaos.

Also think of the EU side here: they want clarity here too, and hence dragging this process out over months or even years is going to not gain much favour in the EU-27. But an adequate referendum process under time pressure is not much good *either*.

I hence suppose I personally favour:
- Extend Art 50
- Organise EP election in UK 23 May
- Hold referendum June/July 2019
- Q to be May's Deal vs. Remain

But I am open to persuasion that I'm wrong!

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