What is a referendum?
- Single issue vote (usually)
- AKA plebiscite or ballot questions
- Might be held at same time as general election or local elections
- held on issues which are considered to be of particular significance the people or the long term future of the country
- return to 'direct democracy'
- not legally binding
- usually yes or no
- local referendums have been held in England, Wales and Scotland since 1913.
Examples in the UK
Before 1997 only four had been held. E.g.:
- NI Sovereignty Referendum, 1973 - 2 questions: should NI remain part of the UK? YES. Should NI join EIRE? NO
- European Community Membership Referendum, 1975: should UK remain a member of the EEC? YES
Since 1997, Tony Blair keen to restore electorates participation in politics:
- Scottish devolution, 1997
- Welsh Devolution, 1997
- Greater London Authority referendum, 1998
- NI Belfast Agreement, 1998
- North east England devolution, 2004
- Welsh devolution, 2011
- UK AV, 2011
Why do governments call referenda?
- Settle questions…