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All this tells us is that the UK parliament are muppets who can't write referendum legislation properly.

You can do a binding referenda in a Westminster system quite easily: pass laws which both set up the referendum rules and what will happen if it passes or fails, and a forked commencement clause to bring the various bits into effect appropriately. NZ did this when we switched to MMP, with the Electoral Referendum Act 1993 and the commencement clause of the Electoral Act 1993, which is basicly a big "if... then" clause. We'll be doing a similar exercise next year over marijuana legalisation, euthanasia, and probably tweaking the MMP threshold.

Of course, parliament could then repeal or amend these laws if they change their mind, so they're no more "binding" than any other law in a westminster system with parliamentary sovereignty. But they're certainly no less "binding" either. And the political consequences of a parliament goign back on its word like that... well, they'd be very ugly in NZ.

by IdiotSavant on Fri Mar 1st, 2019 at 12:06:23 AM EST
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