I do not believe currently a Second Referendum would be in the best interests of the country.
The EU Referendum posed a simple question whether to remain or leave the EU. On a 72.21% turnout 51.89% voted to leave and 48.11% voted to remain. The result was clear and all major political parties (Labour and Conservative) MPs stood on a manifesto promise to deliver Brexit in the last General Election and also then voted to trigger Article 50.
In the Welsh Referendum in 1997 on whether we should devolve power to a Welsh Assembly and instigate a major constitutional change, removing power from Parliament – only 50.22% turned out to vote and 50.3% voted to devolve power and 49.7% voted against. This was accepted even though the result was by a very small majority.
In this case we are even repatriating powers to the UK Parliament rather than removing them and I believe every effort should be made to fulfil the commitments made over the past two years.
If we held another referendum - what guarantee is there that the Government would not ignore the next referendum result if it went against the current position or was won in either direction by a smaller margin.
I was a member of UCL’s Constitution Unit’s Independent Commission on Referendums which reported in July 2018. It did not take a position on a second referendum on Brexit but it does recommend that if a second referendum is possible or required it should be included in the legislation and be clear before the first vote takes place.
The report can be found here.
Please also find my latest question to the House here.