11th December 2018

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the (a) legislative requirements and (b) timetable required to hold a second referendum on the UK leaving the EU.

Chloe Smith, Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for the Constitution): An Act of Parliament is required before any UK-wide referendum can be held. It is for Parliament to debate and agree the terms under which any referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper. Processes to hold any referendum must, in addition, incorporate adequate time to prepare for the poll and a minimum campaigning period. The Electoral Commission recommends that legislation relating to a poll should be clear at least six months before it is required to be implemented or complied with.

A majority of the electorate voted to leave the EU in June 2016. The British people made their choice and they want their Government to deliver on that choice. It is a matter of Government policy that there will not be a second referendum on our exit from the EU.