The result of the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union | June 2016

Following the announcement of the result of the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, I have received a number of e-mails from individuals calling for a second referendum to be held, and / or for Parliament to annul the result, or otherwise to prevent this country from leaving the EU.
The EU membership referendum was the largest democratic exercise of its type ever undertaken in this country. More than 33.5 million people voted, and the turnout, at 72.2%, was the highest for a national election since the 1992 General Election. Over 17.4 million people, representing 51.9% of the ballots cast, voted in favour of leaving the EU. This equates to a lead of 1,269,501 votes for the ‘leave’ campaign.
In summary, the referendum resulted in a clear majority in favour of leaving the EU. Furthermore, I have been involved in politics, and in national elections, for over 40 years, and I can conclude – with full confidence – that the electoral campaign that was conducted prior to the referendum was the most extensive (over 3 months) and intensive that I have experienced. Indeed, it was probably the most intensive electoral campaign that has ever been conducted in this country. Accordingly, in addition to the fact that a clear majority voted in favour of leaving the EU, it can be said that the democratic decision that the result embodies was made after an unprecedented opportunity to read and hear the cases that were put forward by the two sides involved in the campaign, and with full knowledge of the importance of the decision that the electorate was required to make. In other words, the decision was an informed one, and one that was not made lightly.
Of course, I fully appreciate that a substantial number of people are unhappy with the result of the referendum. However, such is the nature of democracy. Every large-scale election results in disappointment for some. Equally, however, such elections result in contentment, and indeed elation, for many. Given that the EU membership referendum was an exercise involving a binary choice, as opposed to choosing between a number of candidates and / or political parties, it can be said, with absolute certainty, that substantially more people are satisfied with the result of the referendum, than are disappointed.
Accordingly, I believe that there is no logical and reasonable reason as to why a second referendum should be held on the matter. Similarly, I do not believe that Parliament should seek to prevent the result of the referendum from being effected. Indeed, I believe that any such attempt would be wholly undemocratic. It would also, in my view, amount to a betrayal; betrayal not only of the majority that voted to leave the EU, but of the basic democratic principles that underpin Parliament’s existence and legitimacy. I will strive to ensure that the principles in question are upheld, and that this country makes those arrangements that are necessary in order to leave the EU, and to establish itself as a free, independent, proud, and prosperous nation.
June 2016

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