Jack Straw vs Will Straw

The Tories spotted an opportunity to make hay at the Justice Secretary's expense.

Last night's debate in the Commons on the Alternative Vote had a rather amusing moment.

From Hansard:

Mr Grieve: I am truly sorry to see the Secretary of State being obliged to be associated with this guff.

The best starting point would be for the Secretary of State to take a short absence from the Chamber to look at the excellent blogsite run by his son, Will Straw, on which there has been extensive polling in left-of-centre areas of radicalism about these proposals. No more than 20 per cent, he has concluded, support the alternative vote proposed by the Government and 29 per cent want no referendum at all.

Perhaps we should not be surprised to learn, particularly from a left-of-centre blog, that the vast majority of the remainder want such disparate things that it is impossible to assess what they desire. I think that the Secretary of State would have done rather well to have considered that blog first.

Cheeky!

Will Straw has emailed to say that Grieve "selectively" cited the LFF research, and ignored the key finding of the poll: 63 per cent of voters support a referendum on electoral reform. "We'd have preferred an election-day referendum with a wider range of options, but we'll take the AV vote as a first step," says Straw.

 

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

A second referendum? Photo: Getty
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Will there be a second EU referendum? Petition passes 1.75 million signatures

Updated: An official petition for a second EU referendum has passed 1.75m signatures - but does it have any chance of happening?

A petition calling for another EU referendum has passed 1.75 million signatures

"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum," the petition reads. Overall, the turnout in the EU referendum on 23 June was 73 per cent, and 51.8 per cent of voters went for Leave.

The petition has been so popular it briefly crashed the government website, and is now the biggest petition in the site's history.

After 10,000 signatures, the government has to respond to an official petition. After 100,000 signatures, it must be considered for a debate in parliament. 

Nigel Farage has previously said he would have asked for a second referendum based on a 52-48 result in favour of Remain.

However, what the petition is asking for would be, in effect, for Britain to stay as a member of the EU. Turnout of 75 per cent is far higher than recent general elections, and a margin of victory of 20 points is also ambitious. In the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, the split was 55-45 in favour of remaining in the union. 

Unfortunately for those dismayed by the referendum result, even if the petition is debated in parliament, there will be no vote and it will have no legal weight. 

Another petition has been set up for London to declare independence, which has attracted 130,000 signatures.