10 Jul 2016

British govt rejects re-Brexit petition

10:04 am on 10 July 2016

Brexit - The British government has rejected an online petition signed by 4.1 million people calling for a new referendum on whether to leave the European Union (EU).

Protesters took to the streets of London to oppose Britain's exit of the European Union more than a week after the referendum.

Protesters took to the streets of London to oppose Britain's exit of the European Union more than a week after the referendum. Photo: AFP

Britons voted by 52 to 48 percent - or 17.4 million votes to 16.1 million - to leave the EU in last month's referendum. Most politicians have said the result should be respected, but some who voted "remain" are struggling to accept the exit from Europe.

The petition called for the government to enact a rule that there should be another referendum if the vote for "remain" or "leave" was less than 60 percent based on a turnout of less than 75 percent.

But the Foreign Office, which had steered the EU Referendum Act through parliament, said the legislation did not set a threshold for the result, nor for minimum turnout.

It said it had made it clear that it was a "once-in-a-generation vote".

"We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations," it said.

United States president Barack Obama this weekend confirmed his expectation that Britain would leave the EU. Speaking at a NATO summit in Warsaw, he said he was concerned to limit the damage to global economies from the move.

As a friend, ally and trading partner of both Britain and of the EU, Mr Obama said Washington wanted to see an orderly negotiating process and as close a relationship as possible in future.

"It's important that neither side harden positions in ways that ultimately do damage to their respective economies and ultimately to the world economy at a time when our world economy is still pretty wobbly in places," Mr Obama told a news conference.

In this combination of file pictures created on July 7, 2016, British Conservative Party leadership candidate Theresa May (L) arrives to attend a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in central London on June 27, 2016 and British Conservative Party leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom (R)

Conservative Party leadership candidates Theresa May, left, and Andrea Leadsom remain in the running to be the next UK PM. Photo: AFP

Presumptive Tory leaders want Brexit honoured

Both candidates to replace David Cameron as leader of the ruling Conservative Party and prime minister have said the result of the referendum should not be questioned and Brexit should be delivered.

"Brexit means Brexit," frontrunner Theresa May, said in a speech announcing her bid.

Ms May, the interior minister, had advocated staying in the bloc, but was not a leading figure in the "remain" campaign.

Her rival, junior energy minister Andrea Leadsom, was one of the strongest advocates of Brexit ahead of the referendum and has said that Britain would flourish outside the EU.

Eagle announces bid to oust Corbyn

Meanwhile senior Labour MP Angela Eagle has announced she will make a bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

Ms Eagle said Mr Corbyn had failed to lead the MPs as an organised and effective force in parliament.

Mr Corbyn was swept to the leadership by a wave of grassroots support last September.

But in the wake of the Brexit vote, the majority of his MPs backed a vote of no-confidence in him last month.

It is unclear what will happen if he is re-elected by the membership, but there has been speculation the party would split.

-ABC / Reuters

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