This petition was submitted during the 2017–2019 Conservative government

Petition Halt Brexit For A Public Inquiry

The UK's departure from the EU looms but questions remain about the legitimacy of the Referendum. The Electoral Commission said illegal overspending occurred during the Referendum. Were the vote/any subsequent political acts affected? Article 50 was triggered. Was the overspend known about then?

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A transparent Public Inquiry is required, now.

This Inquiry must determine urgently whether any decision-maker knew about the EU Referendum irregularities before Article 50 was triggered.

What assessment (before Article 50 was triggered or subsequently) was made, and by whom, of any impacts illegal spending had on the outcome of the EU Referendum?

These are matters vital to the democratic process and public confidence in British politics. Until they are resolved Brexit must be deferred.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

111,918 signatures

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 5 October 2020

Government responded

This response was given on 15 April 2019

Investigations are conducted by the independent Electoral Commission. There are no plans to establish a Public Inquiry. The Government is committed to delivering the result of the EU referendum.

Read the response in full

The EU referendum was carried out in accordance with legislation passed by Parliament. The provisions relating to the conduct of the referendum were carefully scrutinised and ratified by Parliament. There was a six week period in which the result of the EU Referendum could be challenged by judicial review.

We treat the security and integrity of our democratic processes extremely seriously. The Government is committed to making sure the rules work, now and in the future.

It is not acceptable for any organisation to breach electoral procedures – and it is regrettable that fines have been levied on multiple groups on both sides of the referendum campaigns.

Pro-Remain groups outspent pro-Leave groups by £4 million in the referendum campaign.

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. If offences are alleged, it is right that they are investigated thoroughly by the appropriate agencies. Those agencies and any investigations are rightly independent of government.

Close to three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected. This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented. 17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at the UK Government. Following the referendum, Parliament overwhelmingly confirmed the result by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

The British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum. This Government stands by this commitment.

Cabinet Office.

Petitions Committee debates postponed

Following today’s announcement that business in Westminster Hall will not take place until further notice, all debates scheduled by the Petitions Committee on petitions that have more than 100,000 signatures have been postponed, including the debate on this petition which was scheduled for Monday 23 March.

Once Westminster Hall has reopened, the Petitions Committee will reschedule as many debates as possible.

You can read more about this here:

MPs to debate the UK's departure from the EU

On Monday 5 October, MPs will debate this petition along with two others relating to the UK's departure from the EU.

The debate is open to MPs from all parties to take part, and a Minister from the Cabinet Office will respond on behalf of the Government.

This debate takes place on the day Westminster Hall re-opens. Sittings in Westminster Hall, the House of Commons Second Chamber, have been suspended since March due to social distancing.

Watch from 6pm on Monday 5 October:
Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates:
Take part in the discussion using #BrexitPetitionsDebate

How do petitions debates work?
Petitions debates are general debates. They allow MPs to represent the concerns of their constituents and petitioners on an issue, question Government Ministers on their behalf, and press for action.

Petitions debates cannot change the law and do not end in a vote to implement the request of the petition.