MPs ARE going to debate a petition calling for a second EU referendum after all


Demands from more than four million people for a second referendum on European Union membership will be debated in Parliament.

MPs said the huge number of signatories to an online petition meant it was right to set aside time to discuss the calls, but they warned the move does not signal support for a fresh poll.

Voters unhappy with the result of the June 23 referendum were quick to back the protest on Parliament's website and more than 4.1 million people have now put their name to it.

The strongest support for a re-run is in London, with more than 20,000 voters in some constituencies backing the call.

Some 9.5% of voters - 10,282 - in David Cameron's Witney constituency and 9.9%, - 10,304 - in Maidenhead, which is represented by his successor Theresa May, want a second poll.

The petition called for the Government to hold a second referendum because less than 60% of the vote was in favour of Brexit and the turnout was below 75%.

A debate will be held in Westminster Hall, the Commons' second chamber, on September 5, opened by the SNP's Ian Blackford.

March for Europe rally
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Ministers have already formally rejected the demands made in the online request and the Petitions Committee stressed the debate does not have the power to change the law.

"The committee has decided that the huge number of people signing this petition means that it should be debated by MPs. The Petitions Committee would like to make clear that, in scheduling this debate, they are not supporting the call for a second referendum," a spokesman said.

"A debate in Westminster Hall does not have the power to change the law, and won't end with the House of Commons deciding whether or not to have a second referendum.

"Moreover, the petition - which was opened on May 25, well before the referendum - calls for the referendum rules to be changed. It is now too late for the rules to be changed retrospectively.

"It will be up to the Government to decide whether it wants to start the process of agreeing a new law for a second referendum."