One year on: Whatever happened to that petition for a second EU referendum?

Caitlin Morrison
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The petition for a second EU referendum ended up with more than 4m signatures (Source: Getty)

In case you forgot, the EU referendum was a close-run affair, and there were almost as many people left angry and disappointed as there were celebrating in the aftermath.

One die-hard group of Remainers was determined not to give up easily, and so, as has become customary if you don't agree with something in Britain these days, they started a petition.

"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 per cent based (on) a turnout less than 75 per cent there should be another referendum," the petition read.

This is what happened next:

How many signatures did it get?

The petition racked up 4,150,262 signatures in total.

Was it debated in parliament?

It was indeed. The debate was held on 5 September, 2016, at a meeting that ran from 4.30pm until 7.31pm.

If you somehow missed it, never fear - the whole thing is available to watch right here:

And what was the outcome of that debate?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said no, basically.

"The European Union Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015, receiving overwhelming support from Parliament. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout," the FCO said.

"The EU Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015. The Act was scrutinised and debated in Parliament during its passage and agreed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Act set out the terms under which the referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

"As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say. The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected."

We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.

Was that the end of the second referendum idea?

Well, Gibraltar - where only 4.1 per cent of voters were in favour of Brexit - called for a second referendum soon after the first vote.

Closer to home, former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron promised voters in the run-up to the General Election that the party would fight for a second referendum. However, Vince Cable did not support this plan - and Cable is now favourite to become the next leader of the Lib Dems.

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