With some like-minded people, I am thinking of putting this on the parliamentary petitions site. Comments welcome (within reason.)
NB. I use “referendums” as a plural. This is based on “referendum” being a gerundive form of Latin verb rather than a singular neuter noun. (With thanks to “Twitch” Vail, Latin teacher at Price’s School, Fareham, in the 1960s.)
We believe that the use of referendums should be avoided, as they undermine the process of representative government on which our parliamentary system depends.
We therefore call upon the Government to introduce to Parliament legislation to create a UK Referendums Act to regulate their use.
The Act should include:
- Criteria for the subjects of referendums – e.g., in questions of national sovereignty; also specific exclusions e.g., questions of conscience such as abortion and assisted suicide
- Mandatory intervals between referendums on the same subject (e.g., 30 years)
- A specified required level of support in the Commons for referendums (e.g., two-thirds of MPs)
- A codified assumption that if a referendum fails, the status quo is endorsed
- Provisions to ensure that referendum outcomes are endorsed by a majority in the electorate (e.g., by “double majorities” or two-thirds support as for constitutional questions in the USA.)
- A ban on simplistic questions which can be answered with Yes or No.