Why referendums have been held
Why are referendums held instead of the decision being made by government?
- Government divided - thusly escape from their problem.
- Convention for important constitutional reforms.
- Entrenches the decision from being reversed easily by future governments.
- Secures consent of the community for an action - especially important if it involves tax.
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UK Referendum Examples Card 1
- 1975 - National -Should the UK remain a member of the European Community? - Labour newly elected; divided. - Large YES majority.
- 1997 - Scotland -Should Scotland have it's own Parliament with significant powers? - Important constitutional change - Large YES majority; good turnout.
- 1997 - Scotland - Should a new Scottish Parliament have the power to vary income tax slightly from the level charged in the rest of Britain? - Issue affecting tax - Large YES majority; good turnout.
- 1997 - Wales - Should Wales have an elected assembly with modest powers? - Important constitutional change - Narrow YES majority; low turnout.
- 1998 - Northern Ireland - Should the Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement) be approved in order to bring peace and power sharing to Northern Ireland government? - years of conflict consensus needed for saftey and peace - Large YES majority; high turnout.
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UK Referendum Examples Card 2
- 1998 - London - Should London have an elected mayor and assembly? - Constitutional change; tax implications - Large YES majority; low turnout.
- 2011 - Wales -Should the Welsh Assembly have more powers? - Constitutional change; tax implications - Large YES majority; low turnout.
- 2011 - National -Should AV (the alternative-vote electoral system) be adopted for Westminister elections? - Coalition divided; important constitutional change; Lib Dems broken tuition fees promise - Large NO majority; low turnout.
- 2014 - Scotland - Should Scotland be an independant country? -SNPs won an almost landslide majority thus mandate to push through referendum - Narrow NO majority; high turnout.
- 2015 - Republic of Ireland - ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.’ - shifting of Irish society to a more secular and liberal structure; e.g. church attendance falling - large YES majority; high turnout.
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