More than 2.7M sign UK petition for new EU referendum

British parliament is obliged to consider any petition posted on its website that amasses more than 100,000 signatures.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest against the outcome of the UK's June 23 referendum on the European Union (EU), in central London on June 25, 2016.

More than 2.7 million Britons and UK residents have signed a petition requesting a second referendum, days after a shock vote to leave the European Union.

British parliament is obliged to consider any petition posted on its website that amasses more than 100,000 signatures.

“We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 percent based on a turnout less than 75 percent there should be another referendum,” says the petition.

The “Leave” camp won the support of 51.9 percent of voters, against 48.1 percent in favour of remaining in the European Union.

Turnout for Thursday’s referendum was 72.2 percent.

Since then, the petition -- which only British citizens or UK residents have the right to sign --  appeared to be increasing at a rate of more than 3,000 signatures a minute.

Most of those who signed were based in Edinburgh and London, both of which voted heavily in favour of “Remain.”

Public reaction to the call for a second referendum was mixed with some making light of the situation.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who said on Friday he would resign after leading the failed campaign to keep Britain in the EU, had said there would be no second referendum.

However, EU rules say nothing about a member state that has already begun negotiations to leave the bloc changing its mind and reversing that decision under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

University of Strathclyde professor John Curtice outlined two hypothetical scenarios in which a second referendum could occur.

“If Boris Johnson is running the government and it is taking a long time to be implemented, two years down the line we could have another poll showing people actually want to reverse the decision and remain in,” he said.

“Then there could be a situation where the opposition party in a general election have a mandate to hold a new referendum,” he added

However, he said there would be no immediate effects from the current petition aside from a formal discussion in parliament.

‘You can’t have neverendums’

The petition for a second vote comes on the heels of another that demanded London’s independence from the UK in order to remain in the European Union.

The parliamentary website crashed at one point due to “exceptionally high volumes of simultaneous users on a single petition, significantly higher than on any previous occasion,” according to a House of Commons spokeswoman.

Nigel Farage leader of the UK Independence Party disregarded the petition telling the Sunday Mirror, “It's the last thing I want to see. It’s not a game of the best of three.”

“Leave” figurehead Boris Johnson also downplayed the idea of a new referendum.

“I’m absolutely clear, a referendum is a referendum. It is a once in a generation, once in a lifetime opportunity and the result determines the outcome,” he said.

“If we vote to stay, we stay, and that’s it. If we vote to leave, we vote to leave, that’s it. You can’t have neverendums, you have referendums,” he added.

TRTWorld and agencies