Date
26 March 2017
'The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered,' David Cameron says, announcing his resignation, reported on the front page of London's Evening Standard. Photo: AFP
'The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered,' David Cameron says, announcing his resignation, reported on the front page of London's Evening Standard. Photo: AFP

Millions seek Brexit referendum do-over

To leave, or not to leave: that is the question.

Still.

After Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union, there is no indication that Brexit will happen soon.

Maybe it never will.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who is resigning, has said he will not take the formal step to initiate a divorce, on the grounds that his successor should do so.

Because the referendum is not legally binding, some politicians are suggesting a parliamentary vote before formally triggering Brexit.

A petition on the UK government’s website on holding a second referendum has gained more than three million signatories in just two days, Reuters reports.

European leaders, facing the biggest threat to European unity since World War II, are divided over how swiftly divorce talks should start.

Paris wants haste, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging patience.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wanted to “start immediately”.

And on Sunday, Scotland’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, said Scotland may veto Brexit altogether.

Under devolution rules, the parliaments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are required to consent to a divorce from the EU, a report by the House of Lords said.

Most British politicians agree the decisive 52-48 win for Leave in the referendum means a divorce must happen. Anything less would be a slap in the face of democracy.

“The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered,” a choking Cameron said in his resignation speech, which marked the most tumultuous end to a British premiership since Anthony Eden resigned in 1957 after the Suez crisis.

Still, the upswell of chatter — #regrexit is trending big on Twitter — over whether Britain might be able to reconsider speaks to the disbelief gripping the continent in the wake of a vote that has unleashed financial and political mayhem.

Sterling has plunged, and Britain’s political parties are both crippled.

Cameron is a lameduck leader, and the main opposition Labour party attempted a coup against its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on Sunday, with nine top officials resigning.

“The kaleidoscope has been shaken up not just in terms of our relationship with the EU but in terms of who runs our parties, who governs the country and what the country is made up of,” said Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London.

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