Petition To establish a Public Inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 EU Referendum.

There is now strong evidence of serious misconduct during the 2016 EU Referendum, including intereference by foreign actors and governments. This must be investigated under the Inquiries Act (2005).

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 April 2019

There are no plans to establish a public inquiry on the conduct during the 2016 EU Referendum. The Government has not seen evidence of successful interference in UK democratic processes.

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.

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