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Brexit Referendum Re-Run Petition Has No Legal Authority - Commission

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The United Kingdom's Electoral Commission has told Sputnik that the petition to have a re-run of the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union has no legal authority.

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The petition — which had garnered more than 3.7 million signatures by Monday (June 27) — calls "upon HM Government to implement a rule that, if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 percent based on a turnout less than 75 percent, there should be another referendum." 

The petition was originally started by a campaigner for the Leave group, William Oliver Healey, in May, when it appeared that the Remain group was leading the polls. However, he has said it has now been hijacked by the Remain group, unhappy at the outcome.

Sputnik asked the Electoral Commission if there was any such law or rule that suggested another referendum could be called if turnout did not reach 75 percent or that the vote is less that 60 percent.

A spokeswoman for the commission confirmed to Sputnik that "there is no such threshold in referendum legislation."

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The petition has already passed the 100,000 mark, triggering a government debate on the issue, but is being investigated by parliamentary authorities, after it was discovered that 77,000 signatures were fraudulent, with many coming from the Cayman Island, Iceland and Tunisia.

The Vatican — with a population of just 800 — returned more than 39,000 signatures. 

Fraudulent Signatures

Helen Jones, the chair of the petitions committee, said:

"The Government Digital Service are taking action to investigate and, where necessary, remove fraudulent signatures. People adding fraudulent signatures to this petition should know that they undermine the cause they pretend to support.

"It is clear that this petition is very important to a substantial number of people. The petitions committee will be considering the petition at its meeting next week, and will decide whether or not to schedule a debate on it." 

Although the many non-fraudulent signatures exceed the trigger point of 100,000 for a parliamentary debate, this by no means that politicians in the Houses of Parliament will actually do anything about it. The last time a petition triggered a debate was when there were calls for US presidential candidate Donald Trump to be barred from entering the UK.

MPs spoke about the matter for two hours before resolving that it had "considered" the petition. Trump arrived in Scotland the day after the EU referendum.

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