Wednesday 28 June 2017

Minimum threshold rule would move the Brexit goalposts

A union flag flies above an English St George’s Cross flag near Big Ben Picture: AFP/Getty Images
A union flag flies above an English St George’s Cross flag near Big Ben Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

In the run-up to and subsequent fall-out from the recent UK referendum on EU membership, there was no reference made in the media to the requirement of the Scottish devolution referendum of 1979 that a minimum threshold of 40pc of the total electorate (those that can and do vote, plus those that can vote but don't) had to be met for a vote to carry.

In the case of the referendum of 1979, although 52pc of those that voted said 'Yes', the vote was not enacted due to the 64pc turnout which meant that only 33pc of the total potential electorate actually did say 'Yes', thereby falling short of the total 40pc, as was then required.

Had this same threshold been in place in last Thursday's EU referendum, the vote would again have not carried, due to the 52pc vote to leave being reduced relative to the total electorate to 38pc based on the 72pc turnout, and thus falling short of a 40pc threshold had that been in place in 1979.

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