MPs will debate a second EU referendum as MPs return from their recess today (5 September). The move comes after more than four million people signed an online petition calling for the historic ballot to be redone because it failed to meet a turnout threshold of 75% and Leave did not attract more than 60% of the vote.
But the petition was tabled before the EU referendum on 23 June and debates in Westminster Hall do not have the power to change law.
The debate will be led by Remain campaigner SNP MP Ian Blackford, who also serves on the Petitions Committee. MPs return from their recess today (5 September).
"The committee has decided that the huge number of people signing this petition means that it should be debated by MPs," a House of Commons spokesperson said.
"The Petitions Committee would like to make clear that, in scheduling this debate, they are not supporting the call for a second referendum.
"The debate will allow MPs to put forward a range of views on behalf of their constituents. At the end of the debate, a government Minister will respond to the points raised."
Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out holding a second EU referendum or a general election until 2020, while revealing that Article 50 – the official mechanism to split from Brussels – will not be triggered this year.
Brexit Secretary David Davis is expected to address the House of Commons later today on the government's progress on splitting from the EU.
Leave campaigners were dealt a blow last night after it emerged that May would not support an Australian-style visa system, a policy supported by Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during the referendum campaign.
"A lot of people talk about the points-based system as always being the answer in immigration. There is no single silver bullet that is the answer in terms of dealing with immigration," May said, during the G20 summit in China.
May oversaw the Conservative's failure to meet their "tens of thousands" net migration pledge as Home Secretary. Steve Hilton, a former Number 10 aide and Leave campaigner, claimed civil servants told David Cameron his pledge was "impossible" to meet.
The government's response to the petition
The European Union Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015, receiving overwhelming support from Parliament. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.
The Act was scrutinised and debated in Parliament during its passage and agreed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The Act set out the terms under which the referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper.
As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say.
The Prime Minister and government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU. The government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.