The campaign for a “popular vote” on Brexit is gaining momentum in the British public opinion.
A “popular vote” might mean either a general parliamentary election or a referendum.
Both should be based on the final EU/UK agreement - before its formal signature.
If a parliamentary election was held and a new majority/government hostile to the deal were installed, the Brexit process might be stopped and new negotiations started. This might lead to a re-consideration of the Brexit itself.
If a new referendum was organized, the question put to the voters might be either of the following :
1. “Do you - or do you not - vote in favour of the proposed EU/UK agreement”
A negative answer would force EU and UK to continue negotiations within a prolonged time limit.
2. “Considering the proposed EU/UK Brexit agreement, do you confirm or reject the 1976 UK decision to leave the EU ?” (1)
A negative answer would put and end to the Brexit process.
Two main objections might be raised against a referendum : :
is it legitimate ? The short answer is yes because the indicative referendum of 2016 could/did not indicate the conditions/consequences of a Brexit (2).
is it compatible with the March 29/2019 deadline ? The answer is also yes. (3)
Obviously, we are not there yet - but the hypothesis of a “meaning popular vote" of some kind is gaining ground and all options should be kept open.
The magnitude of the final outcome for present and future British generations is such that it cannot/should not rest solely on the indecisive and undocumented 2016 referendum.
(For a more elaborate analysis of this question, see http://fedtrust.co.uk/brexit-a-meaningful-vote-for-mps-implies-a-meaningful-vote-for-the-people/ )
Jean-Guy Giraud 03 - 10 - 2018
(1) In the case of a final "No deal” , the question would be : “Considering the absence of any EU/UK withdrawal agreement, do you confirm or reject the 1976 decision to leave the EU”
(2) see also the “precedent” of Irish successive referendums on the Maastricht and Nice treaties
(3) the 1975 referendum was decided in April and the vote took place in June. Besides, the March 29/2019 deadline might be extended if necessary.