Herald letter: referendums. In which I am reasonable and even-handed.

YOUR correspondents are absolutely correct in their assessment of the inadequacies of referendums as a means of taking decisions in a parliamentary democracy (Letters, March 18). Personally, I regard them as being a bit like root canal surgery – I would like never to have to experience one ever again.

However, if there is a need for further referendums in the future, the time has surely come to regulate them much more stringently.

What we need is a new Act of Parliament which sets out a limited range of subjects on which a referendum may be called (so as to avoid referendums being called for spurious or party reasons); a requirement for a minimum number of MPs voting for a referendum (possibly the same as to dissolve Parliament under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act); and strict rules on majorities required.

These same requirements would of course apply to proposals for future Scottish independence referendums as well as all-UK plebiscites. To not learn the lessons of Brexit would be negligent in the extreme.

Peter A Russell

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