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  • What next with Brexit? Another "PLEBISCITE": Deficits of Brexit referendum
  • UK Parliament must take back control: brexit
  • People's political rights and sovereignty after the Brexit ballot. Easy but effective ways to improve our democracy
  • Our comment on a (later) 4 million strong petition for a second referendum on EU membership
  • Ways to better democracy after UK "brexit" referendum

  • The Labour Party could win supporters and mobilise non-voters by proposing genuine citizen-led direct democracy. Sept 2016

What next with Brexit? Another "PLEBISCITE" (binding referendum; public policy decision of the people)

Parliament, sovereignty, brexit and the future role of the electorate

Deficits of Brexit referendum

In a recent comment in The Guardian on-line we wrote

17 Jan 2017 13:59

Regarding the EU-in-or-out "brexit" referendum, this was flawed in several ways:

it was imposed by government for their own purposes

 it did not originate from a formal initiative of the people

the government under David Cameron fixed the wording of the proposition, the timing of the ballot, the financing and quality of campaigning (which was awful)

a single referendum which produced "let us leave the EU" is not adequate for such a complex matter. With that we bought a "PIG IN A POKE"

another ballot should be held, preferably conceived and launched by the electorate, to decide if negotiated conditions are acceptable to a majority of UK people. For such an important matter (as for constitution elsewhere) a super-majority should be required, e.g. with a requirement for majorities in regions.

Editorial (well worth a read!) in Guardian/Observer Sunday 5th Feb, 2017 contains,

"...the British people must have the opportunity to accept or reject the deal negotiated by the government. The referendum result provided a democratic mandate for Britain to leave the EU; it did not give permission to the prime minister to negotiate any deal she sees fit."

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain

Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
I&R ~ GB     Link to site index


I&Rgb logo

UK Parliament must take back control: brexit

Now in early autumn 2016 our elected members of parliament should exercise the power which they hold for us by responding clearly and decisively to the EU referendum which they called!

The UK parliament enacted the EU referendum. Legally it seemed to be a consultation of the people. In June the result arrived. We propose that Parliament should respond to the referendum which it called, to the people, in order to determine what will happen now. A parliamentary resolution about this could be issued, further, law could be passed to govern how things shall proceed. Matters to be addressed include:

The government and political circumstances have substantially changed so should there be an early general election?

Parliament must show how we will proceed, for instance:
    Who will determine if or when and under which circumstances the EU exit article can be triggered?
    Will there be a referendum to decide if negotiated or prospective conditions for leaving the EU are acceptable to the electorate or not?
    If there is to be another ballot about this then surely it could be organised and structured better than the one which we have seen in 2016.

Statement by:
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

Power2People: Campaign for DD in GB

People's political rights and sovereignty after the Brexit ballot. Easy but effective ways to improve our democracy

Many voted for Brexit in order to "take back control" of our country from faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. But did we ever stop to think about what control WE  46 million plus voters, citizens have over parliament and the politicians we elect to "work for us"?

It is accepted that the elected parliament can supervise and over-rule all bodies, companies, plus all other entities and persons in the state.

This is the meaning of "parliamentary sovereignty".

With "parliamentary sovereignty" the parliament can apply the power of the people to control and manage public affairs.

However if the people wish to select and decide on any public issue, exercising their "direct" political rights, then they are entitled to do so.

Methods which enable an electorate to apply these direct political rights include the people's law proposition which can lead to a law-making referendum and the citizen-launched veto-referendum which can be used to block bad or unwanted government or parliamentary actions or laws.

For the future of our democracy, for constitution building and also as a way to resolve some uncertainties in the Brexit drama, we should urgently consider introducing best possible, modern democracy (see e.g. Swiss and other regulations and Constitutions about political rights).

Regarding Brexit: Serious commentators have suggested that a second EU referendum should be held, to allow the people of the UK, this time having knowledge of terms and conditions negotiated with the EU and better informed about the whole issue, to consider whether we should leave or decide to remain in the European Union.

A referendum desired and launched by a large part of the electorate would have more weight and democratic legitimacy than a "plebiscite" like the Brexit ballot which was in effect imposed by the Conservative government, as a way to solve its own internal feud and to fend off the election threat posed by UKIP.

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

Our comment on a (later) 4 million strong petition for a second referendum on EU membership

Dear (Correspondent),

Thank you for reminding us about the e-petition for a second referendum about the EU. Now (20:45 on June 26th 2016) there are 3.3 million endorsements.

Parliament may debate this proposal but, as we, the electorate, have no formal right to demand a referendum, the House would not be obliged to comply with the request.

Because the "Brexit" referendum process instigation, campaigns, level of participants' information and public debate were all deeply flawed, there is a case for another, early, referendum on this matter. To do this well we should rapidly introduce well-designed democratic procedures such as the citizens' proposition ("initiative") and voter-instigated, legally binding  referendum. A constitutional basis for this innovation in UK is already in place: in the Convention of Civil and Political Rights which says that citizens have the right to take part in their government both directly (on public issues) and indirectly at elections. This Convention has been ratified by Parliament and so the new regulations could reasonably be introduced, at least for emergency use, by a government order (then no need to wait for H o L and Queen ;-))

Our campaign group Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB / would be happy to advise MPs and other people or groups on how to proceed with the introduction of a more citizen-led democracy : We can refer to a panel of experts in design of modern democracy.

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

Ways to better democracy after UK "brexit" referendum

June 2016

Statement by Campaign for direct democracy in Britain

After the Brexit result many are now asking, should we have more referenda or do they do more harm than good? This invites the question, can we improve the quality of our democracy and the ways in which we conduct our public affairs?

Our democracy is way out of date and badly designed so that elected politicians often fail to represent the majority of us.

In recent years Government and Parliament have carried out ballots, referenda about: Scottish independence; the House of Commons electoral system (alternative vote); the European Union. As ruling politicians see it, with these ballots they were asking the people for their opinion about an important public issue. The results of these votes are *not* legally binding but are only advisory and may be ignored by the government of the day. This is weak democracy of poor quality.

In our opinion our state needs more and better democracy, not less. The right to initiate a referendum should belong to the people (acting through the electorate) and not lie only, as now in effect, with the government.

What is meant by "more and better democracy"?

For instance,  a large number of voters should be able to start a veto referendum of government policy or make a formal proposal for electoral decision (ballot) on new law. See more detail at

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

The Labour Party could win supporters and mobilise non-voters by proposing genuine citizen-led direct democracy

Our comment to The Independent newspaper 25 Sept. 2016

Win votes for LP by promising the citizen-launched referendum, law-proposal and veto-ballot.

Labour is way behind in the polls and Corbyn's chances of winning the next general election look slim. Opposing Theresa May's grammar school idea may win a few votes but not enough. Labour will need some good and convincing policy proposals. In the "brexit" ballot the "leavers" voted to take back control of our government. So, why not promise as a political party to give more control of (our own) public affairs back to the people?

Around 75 percent of eligible voters at the last general election did NOT vote Tory. According to repeated surveys around the same proportion of British adults support the introduction of direct democracy, for instance that a large agreed number of voters can make a public proposal and so trigger a binding ballot to decide the matter. Probably there is considerable overlap of these two "populations".  So, please lobby to place the introduction of elements of local and central direct democracy, to complement "representative" and party democracy, centrally in future Labour Party policy :-)


KH replied to the above, referring to the just re-confirmed leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn: "He's also spoken briefly about direct democracy (some kind of digital referendum system)."

INIREF replies:

The last Labour gov. published ideas about empowering citizens through direct democracy (e.g. Hazel Blears, Communities minister). The Power Inquiry (2004-6) came up with some good suggestions (e.g. Recommendation 24. Power Report) but after the report Gordon Brown did not get further than the idea of gov. managed citizens' juries a form of consultation of "the public" by a ruling government: not very empowering :-(

The Con/Libdem coalition (2010) promised to introduce some elements of citizen governance (e.g. 5 percent of electorate could obtain a local referendum on any issue of local government) (David Cameron had promised in 2009 to introduce "citizen-instigated" ballots at *national* level too) but the coalition did not keep the promises.

So here is a field where Labour could show how things can be done better.

The idea of having "political rights" (*between* elections) as a citizen is close to the heart of many people. The "tools" of direct democracy enable people in all walks of life to put forward proposals to their peers and to say "no" to unacceptable policies.

He's also spoken briefly about direct democracy (some kind of digital referendum system).

He's also spoken briefly about direct democracy (some kind of digital referendum system).



Act of  Parliament to enable the introduction and effective operation
citizen-led direct democracy across Britain and N. Ireland at all levels
of government. With the "tools" of direct democracy we can begin to build community and to regain supervision of our public affairs, guiding and correcting the political parties, councils and parliaments, when need be.

This reform of our constitution and democracy, which would benefit many, demands a strong movement of people and society. Please look at our plan (Strategies ...) sketched below in the colour spectrum and consider how you might be able to contribute.  What do you think about this plan?
gb+i map
Working title of the proposed law:


Strategies, locations. foreseen actors for the Direct Democracy GB campaign are sketched below. Where can you fit in? See Contact below.


Space/spheres: local/ country-wide/ focus: parliamentary constituencies/ international        Actors: citizens/ members in organisations, unions, NGOs/ staff in public services/ students/ academics. THIS MEANS YOU :-) and me. We invite co-operation and also if you wish to set up a new direct democracy initiative, project, campaign or action group then please go ahead .... let us know how you fare, ask us for help if you need it.

approach, discuss with
Spheres: Mainly constituency-based organising and contact-seeking. Lobbying via acquaintance, professional or business contact etc.      Actors: Mainly MPs' own potential voters, constituents and supporters.

contact, persuade, cajole

Sphere: Mainly parliamentary constituencies during run-up to elections.     Actors:  As above. Request candidates to promise support (if elected) for the Direct Democracy Bill. Invite them to sign our "pledge" (ask us for detail).

discuss, inform
Tactic: Suggest that local councils can introduce methods of direct democracy. They could publicly announce readiness to accept citizens' proposals e.g. policy or planning, which if supported by many residents' endorsement could trigger a referendum. Councils can agree in advance to abide by the people's ballot decision.

During debates about the Localism Bill these organisations outed themselves as bastions of opposition to local direct democracy.  Tactic: Write to ask why they opposed the citizens' referendum and publish their reply. Try reasoned argument ;-)

call to action
Members of trade unions and officials are requested to promote a union policy favouring the introduction of direct democracy for local and national government. We are keen to discuss if trade unions could formally adopt a DD proposal. Reform to our system of democracy is a matter of state constitution and so may not fall under any legal ban on union political activity.

seek co-operation, discourse, support
We ask groups and organisations to include direct democracy among their reform demands and to make own initiatives such as press releases, meetings which thematise DD, videos, broadcasts, internet actions and other forms of presentation and promotion.

voters take control


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