The United Kingdom held its first national referendum, or direct-democracy vote, in 1975. This vote confirmed UK membership of the European Economic Community (EEC). Since 1975, the EEC has evolved into the European Union (EU), a political as well as economic coalition of countries that fundamentally alters its member states' sovereignty. The concept of parliamentary sovereignty, the right of Parliament to make or unmake any law, has traditionally been the cornerstone of the British political system. But given that EU law now supersedes UK law, proponents of holding a referendum argue that the political system and even the social contract have been fundamentally altered without the permission of UK citizens.1 Meanwhile, opponents of the referendum insist that EU membership is too important to gamble on uninformed public opinion and that referendums are inconsistent with the British tradition of representative democracy.
This motion proposes that government should hold a referendum on EU membership and maintain or end membership of the EU dependent upon which option receives the most votes.
1 ELLIOTT, MARK. 2004. "United Kingdom: Parliamentary Sovereignty Under Pressure." International Journal of Constitutional Law, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 545-627.
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