Richard Ekins: The Legitimacy of the Brexit Referendum

June 29, 2016 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

UK Constitutional Law Association

Richard EkinsAs all the world knows, last Thursday the British people voted in a referendum about whether the UK should leave the EU.  The prospect of the referendum encouraged much reflection about the merits of referenda and their consistency or otherwise with parliamentary democracy.  The outcome of the referenda has spurred more such reflection, with many lamenting that the referendum was held at all and with some even proposing that the vote should be ignored or flouted or otherwise circumvented.  It is hard to imagine a more obvious way to flout democratic norms and to inflame political controversy.  This post briefly outlines some thoughts on the legitimacy of the referendum process and the reasons to respect its outcome.  Nothing herein turns on the merits of the vote itself.

Referenda and representative government

I am a strong supporter of representative, parliamentary democracy.  Parliamentary sovereignty is a very good constitutional rule, at least…

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