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Who can call for a referendum in the UK?

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    • Thread Starter

    Hey, this is a question from an interested outsider after the Brexit vote.

    What is the exact process for calling for a referendum in the UK? I know that the parliament has to pass a referendum bill. But is the prime minister also formally involved? Or could a parliamentary majority pass a referendum bill against the will of a prime minister?
    Clarification would very much be appreciated. I have not found any information regarding this in the internet.

    Technically a referendum is literally just a poll, it's not legally binding. So I suppose anyone could technically call for a referendum. One like the Brexit can only really be done by the PM, since he said he'd honour the results of it.

    I am a bit out of touch with current legislation but....

    Any MP can propose a bill. But the chances of a backbencher getting a bill even tabled, let alone passed without government support is almost zero. It is basically how much support the gov chooses to give that determines the outcome.

    So if the PM did not support a bill, he can effectibvly use the whips to crush it.
    Assuming that the gov has a majority

    (Original post by 34908seikj)
    Technically a referendum is literally just a poll, it's not legally binding.
    This isn't entirely true because referenda can be legally binding, such as the referendum on AV a few years ago.
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