Turns out there are 'no current plans' for a British independence day on June 23


In case you missed it, more than 20,000 people signed a petition on the Government's website for June 23 to become a British Independence Day.

But a Brexit Minister has confirmed there are "no current plans" for a new national holiday to mark the EU referendum vote.

Robin Walker said it would cost businesses more than £1 billion to add another bank holiday to the calendar. Yeah, a day off for the whole country ain't cheap...

(Screengrab/https://petition.parliament.uk) screengrab of the petition to parliament

MPs debated a series of other petitions on Brexit - including one calling for them to invoke Article 50 immediately, and one about not invoking Article 50 at all.

And Walker said the Government "has no current plans to create another permanent UK bank holiday".

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, Walker added: "Tempting though that might be, I think the idea of an independence day would face fierce competition from the likes of St George's Day, Trafalgar Day and many more.

"It's very hard to commit to June 23 over its many rivals. Unfortunately it's just too costly, in the view of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy, to introduce another holiday at this stage.

"When they analysed the impact of the additional holiday for the Diamond Jubilee, they found that it cost employers over £1 billion."

A wide-ranging debate saw Remain and Leave-supporting MPs exchange views on the impact of Brexit on immigration, trade and the devolved administrations.

Labour's Geraint Davies (Swansea West) reiterated his backing for a second referendum.

He said it would be a "dreadful mistake" were Britain to leave the EU, adding: "Business and other service sectors simply don't know what's going to happen, and then of course in the community of people who are EU citizens it's a disaster, not just because xenophobia has been spun up and people are in the streets saying go home and all the rest of it.

"The economic facts are, the average EU citizen contributes 34% more in tax than she or he consumes in public services.

Union flag and the EU flag

"So if we swap those people for retired Brits in Spain and France and whatever it is, we'll be swapping hard-working, tax-contributing working Polish people and all the rest of it, for people who retired into the sun who would be more of a cost on the health service."

However, Kettering MP Philip Hollobone told MPs: "I think he's in the wrong job.

"I'm sure he's an excellent Member of Parliament, but he hasn't understood the message of the 17.4 million who voted to Leave.

"I think he would be better suited having a job on the business section of the Today programme, because his first five minutes have been unremitting doom and gloom."