John Rentoul on the use of referendums

Since the Brexit referendum, I’ve encountered some people saying both that the use of referendums is unjustifiable in general in a parliamentary democracy, and that it was unjustifiable in relation to the question of EU membership in particular.

I’ve belatedly discovered these 2016 articles of The INdependent’s John Rentoul looking at these very questions:

After Brexit, should referendums be banned? 

After Brexit, should referendums be banned? Part 2

Further thoughts about referendums

2018 addendum

And another 2018 piece:

We still need referendums for a strong democracy, whatever you thought of the Brexit result

PS this piece too from Chris Hanretty, rebutting AC Grayling’s claim that the referendum equated to a “coup”. Among other sources, Hanretty draws on this memorandum given to the House of Lords by Dr Matt Qvortrup. Of particular interest to me are his comments about threshold requirements: “Thresholds are rare but they do exist” (emphasis mine).


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