Jeremy Corbyn rejects petition calls for second EU referendum

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a post-Brexit speech at the Maxwell Library in central London. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a post-Brexit speech at the Maxwell Library in central London. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
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A second EU referendum has been ruled out by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn despite an online petition calling for a vote rerun gaining more than one million backers.

“The referendum has taken place, a decision has been made, I think we have got to accept that decision and work out our relationship with Europe in the future,” Mr Corbyn said.

The stance is directly opposed to the push by pro-Europeans to have a new poll because they believe people did not fully understand the consequences of the referendum.

The one million supporters milestone for the petition was reached at about 10.45am on Saturday, just over 24 hours after official confirmation Britain had voted to leave the EU following the historic vote.

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The petition, set up by William Oliver Healey, states: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 per cent based on a turnout less than 75 per cent, there should be another referendum.”

The clamour to add signatures to the Government website-hosted petition comes amid dissatisfaction from voters who wanted the country to remain part of the union while anecdotes immediately began to emerge from those who said they regretted voting to leave.

The referendum saw 51.9 per cent of votes cast to leave the EU, versus 48.1 per cent for remaining part of the bloc, with a turnout of 72.2 per cent, according to the Electoral Commission.

Mr Corbyn also called for rapid “divorce” negotiations with the EU.

“There has to be some quite rapid negotiations, we cannot just have uncertainty running for more than two years because major investment decisions will be made by big manufacturing companies.

“Clearly they need to have some stability in knowing whether they are going to be able to sell their goods or not,” he said.

More than 110,000 people have signed a separate petition on the website, calling on new London mayor Sadiq Khan to declare the capital independent from the UK and apply to join the European Union.

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The page, set up by James O’Malley, says: “London is an international city, and we want to remain at the heart of Europe.

“Let’s face it - the rest of the country disagrees. So rather than passive aggressively vote against each other at every election, let’s make the divorce official and move in with our friends on the continent.

“This petition is calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare London independent, and apply to join the EU - including membership of the Schengen Zone (Umm, we’ll talk about the Euro...).”

Less well-supported petitions on the website include a similar plea for Brighton and Hove to become a member state of the EU, calls for Leave firebrand Nigel Farage to be knighted, and another entitled “Stop all petitions trying to make us hold another referendum”.

The Scotsman’s EU Referendum page: Keep up to date with latest news, polls and features.