, 13 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. The government can say “We will implement the result” in a referendum, but what does that actually mean for parliament? (Thread)
2. In the House of Commons this was touched upon in a debate about the validity of the total vote on 24th April 1975. Here the question is confirmed that the government said they would be bound, but it might be meaningless.
3. “There is no need to build into the terms of the Bill the fact that the referendum is consultative. It is consultative in any event.”
4. “The referendum result must be conclusive for the people of this country, although it cannot be binding on individual Members of this House.”
5. “Even if we have an 81 per cent, vote one way the House will decide irrespective. It will take notice of such a vote but it will not be bound by it.”
6. “Equally, the result of the referendum, however high the turn out, cannot bind the House in a meaningful way.”
7. If they are saying we must accept the vote they are destroying the strongest argument that the anti-Marketeers are now pursuing: The loss of sovereignty.
8. “Nor do wish to see the implication that if that formula is reached and is approved by this House, Parliament will accept the result of the referendum. The Government have said repeatedly that this referendum cannot bind individual Members”
9. Apparently someone tried to start a ‘Don’t know’ campaign to push the decision back to the politicians.

This is where MPs started to suggest an "innovative" way to interpret non-voters…
10. “Those electors who do not bother to cast a vote will be saying subconsciously that they have elected Members of Parliament to make these decisions and that they wish Members of Parliament to continue to make them.”

11. “It could well be argued that any voter who does not go to the polling station on referendum day can be presumed to be in favour of the proposition to let Parliament decide.”
12. There are two things here. On the first they are absolutely right Parliament cannot be bound by the executive. A government can only bind itself to the result unless our representatives delegate that power to them.
13. But I don't think that non-voter theory is going to get anybody anywhere fast in today’s political climate.

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