, 9 tweets, 2 min read
There's lots of speculation about the possibility of MPs requiring a confirmatory vote on the new Brexit deal. A key thing to remember is that a vote in favour is only the first step in the process, actually holding one will prove more difficult. It's a thread kind of day 👇
Holding a referendum requires primary legislation. It's unlikely that MPs would be able to pass such legislation without Government support. A referendum involves spending public money so the bill would need a money resolution, which needs to be tabled by a Minister.
If MPs are not able to legislate for a referendum themselves, they will need to compel the government to do so. Here it matters what mechanism they use.
An amendment to a motion such as MV4 or the Queen's speech couldn't legally bind the government. It would be politically difficult to ignore the expressed will of parliament, but the PM has shown a willingness to do so. The govt could refuse to bring forward legislation.
A more watertight way to force the government to hold a referendum would be to do so in law. The most obvious opportunity is an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - needed to implement the deal.
But if the deal has already been approved in MV4 and the govt is no longer required to extend article 50, there is a risk the government could simply drop the bill and leave the EU without a deal on 31 October.
This risk is reduced or rather deferred, if the motion is amended, as per the Letwin amendment, to withhold official approval of the deal until implementing legislation is passed. In this circumstance, the prime minister will still be required to seek an extension.
When and if referendum legislation is finally introduced it will need to specify a range of contentious details such as the question, the franchise and the date of the poll; disagreements are likely - especially over the options put to a vote.
It's possible that a narrow majority for a referendum in principle may unravel once the details are under discussion.

TLDR: Even if parliament votes for a confirmatory referendum, the route to actually holding one is more complicated.
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