Unprecedented: Why The Brexit Result Should Be Put To Parliament

Missing from this debate, however, is consideration of that central facet of the British constitution, the role of precedent. Implementing a referendum without parliamentary scrutiny and approval would be a radical departure from past practice. There is no precedent for doing so by Royal Prerogative. All other referendums in Britain have involved Parliament at some point in the process. It might be objected that there were no further parliamentary votes on any of the matters put to referendums by the Blair government. However, in each of these cases legislation had already been passed specifying, in broad detail, the outcomes of these referendums. Accordingly, the electorate was asked to ratify, or not, a decision that Parliament had already taken. The same occurred with the first national referendum in 1975, when the public endorsed a decision already taken with parliamentary approval on European membership. Had they not done so, the government would have had to come back to Parliament for consideration of alternative arrangements. Parliament determined the process and held the executive to account over the outcome.

Article source: