So, this legal requirement for a referendum then

An official House of Commons analysis says a series of further Parliamentary votes will be required in 2016 to enshrine a future referendum in law. It warns that the legislation being debated in Parliament this week – if passed – could have little legal relevance as it could be ignored by a future government.

The analysis concludes that it “would not appear possible to hold the referendum” without the further agreement of both Houses of Parliament after the next election to set the date and terms of a future vote.

Well quite, One Parliament cannot bind a future oone. Which, gloriously, means we can rescind the Climate Change and Equality Acts any time we want to .

If Dave really wants to make certain that there is a referendum then all he\’s got to do is have one while he\’s still PM.

11 thoughts on “So, this legal requirement for a referendum then”

  1. Isn’t it the whole purpose of passing a law saying “next parliament must hold a referendum” that the next parliament can repeal the law?

    It’s basically saying “vote tory at the next election”. So all the pro-referendum votes go to the tories. And if teh labourz gets in instead they have to repeal the law if they don’t want a referendum so the tories can bash them for being anti-democratic.

    It’s all about staying in power.

  2. According to lord Justice Laws (not a made-up name), giving judgment in the metric martyr case, parliament can indeed bind its succcessors – where it passes something he called a ‘constitutional statute’. A load of oldmoody, of course, but apapparently good law.

  3. The problem isn’t that these people are lying cunts. It’s that most of us carry on voting for them regardless. They have no incentive not to carry on being lying cunts, consequentially.

  4. Ukliberty, no, not so far as I’m aware. Trouble is, Laws LJ was, in that judgment squaring an impossible circle – hence with, ah, imaginative reasoning and, without it, our EU-committed masters would be stuffed. So, were it tested, I suspect it would be upheld.

  5. Tim

    you’re confusing two things here. No parliament can bind a future one, but this story is not about that. Instead it is saying that the bill is insufficient by itself. It will require orders in council (basically secondary legislation) being put forward by the relevant minister in the next parliament.

    The actual piece suggests that there will need to be majority vote in favour in both houses:

    This suggests that this is a form of Order in Council subject to an affirmative resolution procedure. (as opposed to a negative resolution procedure)
    When we talk about the inability of a parliament to bind its successors it usually means that no law can be passed by one parliament that cannot be repealed by one of its successors. This still applies to the European laws, where parliament bound its successors by various accession laws and this has been seen as meaning that UK laws are subject to European laws where they have competency. But this doesnt mean that we cannot repeal accession laws or other “constitutional laws”.

  6. In any given situation when Cameron says something, it’s hard to decide whether he’s simply lying or too thick to know that what he’s pledging does not fall under a national competence and is therefore moot.

  7. Ken, the trouble with that analysis is that it would require our masters to commit themselves to leaving the EU. That’s always been a questuon of political will.

  8. Edward

    The referendum isnt an in or out binding one (as I understand it). I’m just talking about the technicalities of the law as they pertain to the Private member’s Bill as analysed by the HoC library and Tim’s confusion about the ability of parliaments to bind their successors.

  9. If ken’s interpretation is right, and his links suggests he is, then perhaps a more general referendum law is required. The Swiss constitution requires that if 100,000 citizens petition for a referendum to change any law, then it has to be held & its results obeyed by govt. Various time limits apply. Scaling for population, that would require about 750,000 Brits to petition, seems about right to prevent trivial votes. That would enable an in/out referendum, dumping the climate change bill, and the overturning of the quasi laws invented by the likes of Justice Laws.
    Of course getting parliament to vote for such a system might require a bit of ultraviolence. But it would solve an awful lot of problems.

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