There’s two opposing views regarding the legitimacy of a 2nd EU referendum or a People’s Vote: The democratic process didn’t end because of one vote vs we’ve already decided democratically, now implement the result.
In Junes 2016 the UK had what was described by the UK Government “The EU referendum is a once in a generation decision“.
It was an historic moment in the democratic process, over 33.5 million eligible voters went to the polls to determine the future relationship the UK would have with the European Union.
17,410,742 (51.89%) voted Leave
16,141,241 (48.11%) voted Remain
Leave Won by 1,269,501 Votes
The Remain side argues the vote was too close, 52% vs 48% is a tiny minority, a swing of a few % points and the outcome is Remain.
The Leave side argues Leave won by over 1.2 million votes, that’s a significant margin.
You decide which narrative best describes your Leave or Remain position.
Should There be a 2nd People’s Vote?
The 1st People’s Vote was advisory, MPs are not bound by the result, each MP can chose to treat the result as a mandate to Leave the EU or take the Leave result on-board as a factor in how they vote in Parliament or ignore the referendum completely.
We see plenty of examples of the three options above in the two main parties and it’s completely democratic.
The problem is at the time of the Referendum vote Prime Minister David Cameron made a pledge, a promise to the British people which was included in the official Government EU referendum booklet titled “Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK” which was delivered to all UK households and included this pledge “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.”
To have a 2nd People’s vote with a Remain in the EU option means ignoring the 1st People’s Vote which many will consider a betrayal of British democracy!
Technically it isn’t undemocratic to have a 2nd People’s Vote with whatever question Parliament decides, like the 2016 advisory referendum another EU referendum would still be advisory and MPs can again choose to treat the result as a mandate, take the advise on-board or completely ignore it.
Even a rerun of the 2016 In/Out referendum is democratic, but it will damage faith in British democracy for generations and risks a surge to the right: do we really want more right-wing MEPs controlling the European Parliament?