LONDON, June 25 (UPI) — More than 2 million people in the United Kingdom signed a petition seeking a second referendum to determine the county’s exit from the European Union.
The petition demands a new rule that when there are referendums with less than 75 percent turnout there would be another referendum unless the decision was backed by 70 percent of the voters. In Thursday’s referendum the turnout was 72.2 percent and supported by 51.9 percent among the 30 million who voted.
The petition was so popular Friday morning that it crashed the government’s website.
The petition’s website said it was set up by a person named William Oliver Healey
Because the petition has over 100,000 votes it will be debated by Parliament, it’s unclear if the petition can be considered retrospectively.
When the Remain vote was leading in the polls in May, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage suggested he would support a second referendum if it lost narrowly.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s office debunked Farage’s suggestion then, with a tweet from the official account reading: “The Leave campaign is wrong to say there’ll be a 2nd referendum if we vote to remain in the EU. This is a referendum and not a neverendum.”
The referendum isn’t legally binding. In theory, the British government could ignore the results.
Some who voted to “leave” now say they are dismayed at what has happened. “I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain,” one man told the BBC’s Victoria Live on Friday.
Britain has not yet triggered Article 50 — the process to leave the EU. Negotiations may take up to two years. And any new deal with the EU will have to pass Parliament.
Foreign ministers from the EU’s six founding members — Italy, Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands and Luxembourg — met in an emergency meeting Saturday in Berlin and afterward urged Britain to end it’s 43-year membership quickly.