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Brexit: People’s Vote - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:03 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Lamont of Lerwick Lord Lamont of Lerwick Conservative 12:03 pm, 25th October 2018

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, who spoke with authority, eloquence and transparent sincerity. None the less, I profoundly disagree with him. There are good reasons to argue against a second referendum—reasons that even remainers ought to think about extremely carefully. I was pleased that the noble Lord did not—except in his answer to the noble Lord, Lord Dykes—use the phrase “people’s referendum”, which seems to me an Orwellian use of language, designed to conceal meaning. He knows as well as I do the arguments against the use of that phrase, and so I shall not weary the House by going on about them. However, it is, frankly, a dishonest use of language to say that this would be a people’s referendum in some sense more democratic than the first.

In addition to other arguments, some practical questions have to be put about a second referendum. First, how long would it take to hold a second referendum? We have no standing law to permit the holding of referendums, so it would require legislation. People who have looked at it think that at best, if we were lucky, it might be a year before we could implement a referendum.