After the official government response arrived to the petition asking for a 2nd referendum that attracted over 4M signatures, it seemed that it had been killed. It said there would be no 2nd referendum, end of discussion.
However in an interesting twist a second response arrived last night, this time from the Petitions Committee rather than the Government that said that the petition will be debated in Parliament.
The Petitions Committee has decided to schedule a House of Commons debate on this petition. The debate will take place on 5 September at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall, the second debating chamber of the House of Commons. The debate will be opened by Ian Blackford MP.
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. The debate will allow MPs to put forward a range of views on behalf of their constituents. At the end of the debate, a Government Minister will respond to the points raised.
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 25 May, 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.
The interesting line for me in this is the very last one. "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."
It is the first time I've seen anything from the government that evens hints that you could have a second referendum. And this states a mechanism - by having a new law.
Time to rally the troops and harangue your MP. Tell then you want a 2nd referendum!