Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

How funny would it be if First Past the Post screwed the eurosceptics?

Posted by Jason O on Oct 20, 2011 in British Politics, European Union |

A number of eurosceptic Tory, Labour and DUP MPs (when they’re not lobbying Brussels for money for Northern Ireland. What neck. And they say they’re not Irish!) in the British House of Commons (Canada has one too, smart-arses!) are moving the following motion in the next week or so:

“The House calls upon the Government to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the United Kingdom

(a) should remain a member of the European Union on the current terms; (b) leave the European Union; or (c) re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.”

Personally, I think this is a good thing. The Brits should sort it out. But what makes me wonder is that if there are three options on the ballot paper, does that mean that the winning proposition does not need to win a majority of the votes to win? So if the eurosceptic vote splits evenly between options B&C, the stay in the EU lobby wins on 34%? Seriously?

This seems ridiculous to me, but this is how elections are fought in Britain, so I suppose the eurosceptics would accept the result. After all, they just had a referendum to bring in a voting system that required a majority of the vote to win, and rejected it.

Of course, if the eurosceptics insist on a preferential system for the referendum, then surely it will require a referendum first? There is much sniggering to be done with this one.  

2 Comments

Brendan
Oct 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

UK referendums aren’t binding so Westminster would have to decide how to interpret it. If the vote were A 34%, B 33% C 33% it would be difficult for the government to regard it as endorsement of the current policy.

But of coures they’d likely just continue to ignore it on the basis of Hannan’s First Law – that no party is Eurosceptic while in office.


 
Jason O
Oct 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

In fairness Brendan, they regard that level of support as endorsement enough for a result in a general election.


 

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