Referendum on Britain's EU membership 2016

Article

July 5, 2022

The referendum on the UK's EU membership in 2016 was a referendum that took place in the UK and Gibraltar on 23 June 2016. Voters decided whether the UK should leave the European Union (EU) or remain a member. A 51.9% majority was for Britain to leave the EU. The referendum was held in the four provinces of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as the overseas territory of Gibraltar, as a simple majority vote. It was an advisory referendum, but the result is still considered binding. The process from the actions to withdraw Britain from the EU to the referendum and the actual termination of membership is popularly referred to as Brexit. Brexit is a telescopic word composed of "British exit". The date of the referendum was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on 20 February 2016, the day after he had negotiated reforms of Britain's EU membership in the European Council. The question on the ballot paper When the bill on the referendum was presented to the parliament, the question was the voters should take a position formulated as follows in English: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?" (Norwegian: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?"). The question was also phrased in Welsh. Such a question would give voters the opportunity to vote yes or no. The formulation of the question was subsequently examined by the Electoral Commission. The Commission recommended changing the question on the ballot paper so that it read in English: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" (Norwegian: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"). This question should also be available in Welsh. The Electoral Commission justified its recommendation on the grounds that the question was clear and easily understood by the voters and that the recommended question was the most neutral of the question formulations that had been tried out. The question formulation avoided the positive connotations the yes alternative would have given. The government accepted the question recommended by the Electoral Commission. Voters had to choose between the options "Remain a member of the European Union" and "Leave the European Union" by ticking by preferred alternative on the ballot paper.

Voting rights

Citizens of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Commonwealths residing in the United Kingdom were entitled to take part in the referendum. British citizens who had lived abroad for less than 15 years, members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens who lived in Gibraltar could also participate. Citizens of other EU countries residing in the UK were not entitled to vote unless they were nationals of Ireland, Cyprus or Malta. Around 5.5 million Britons live abroad. At least 1.2 million of these live in another EU country. Two Britons who had lived abroad for more than 15 years brought the matter of voting rights before the judicial system. The UK Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision that the restriction on voting rights for Britons who had lived abroad for more than 15 years was valid. The restriction concerned up to 2 million Britons, who were not allowed to vote in the referendum. The people of Man, Jersey and Guernsey did not have the right to vote, as the crown holdings are not part of the UK and are not part of the EU. The voting age was 18 years. A proposal in the Upper House to lower the voting age to 16 was voted down. Eligible voters had to register by the end of June 7, 2016 to be able to vote. On 21 June 2016, the Elctoral Commission announced tentative figures for the number of registered voters. A total of 46,499,537 voters were registered and able to vote in the referendum. Never before had so many v�