Committee consider citizens’ assemblies and a further referendum ahead of new Prime Minister’s arrival

22 July 2019

Ahead of the arrival of a new Prime Minister and the parliamentary recess, the Committee on Exiting the European Union returns with a pair of evidence sessions on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 July, as part of its over-arching inquiry examining the progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal.

Purpose of the sessions

Tuesday 23 July

On Tuesday, the Committee will hear from the Electoral Commission on the possibility of a further referendum. The Committee is expected to focus on the Commission’s responsibilities in any referendum process, what preparatory work would need to be undertaken, and the wording of the question on the ballot paper. MPs are also expected to consider what lessons the Commission has learned from the 2016 referendum, for example the role of political parties, campaign organisations, and donations.

Wednesday 24 July

On Wednesday, the Committee will firstly examine the potential role of citizens’ assemblies in identifying a way forward in the Brexit process, in a panel featuring practitioners and academic experts. The Committee will focus on how citizens’ assemblies are organised, what can be learned from recent successful examples in Ireland (on abortion and same-sex marriage) and what issues a citizens’ assembly on Brexit might consider.

In the second panel of the session the Committee will return to the issue of a further referendum, taking evidence from constitutional and electoral experts including Professor John Curtice. The Committee is expected to focus on the legislative requirements of organising a referendum, as well as issues relating to campaigning, the franchise, and the timetable needed to make the necessary preparations. MPs are also expected to consider the political effect a further referendum would have on the UK, both before and after voting day. 


Tuesday 23 July 2019 Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House

From 2pm

  • Bob Posner, Chief Executive, Electoral Commission
  • Craig Westwood, Director of Communications, Policy and Research, Electoral Commission

Wednesday 24 July 2019 Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House

From 9.15am

  • Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director, Constitution Unit, UCL
  • Sarah Allan, Head of Engagement, Involve
  • Professor David Farrell, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin

Followed by:

  • Meg Russell, Director, Constitution Unit, UCL
  • Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director, Constitution Unit, UCL
  • John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow at NatCen Social Research
  • Bobby Duffy, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Policy Institute, King’s College London

Further information

Image: PC

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