EU referendum result breaks the law

EU ref results as percentage of whole electorateYes, the result does break the law. However, it is not a law that invalidates the result, but it is one rather ironically, that has the word “union” in it.

The EU referendum result gave a 51.9% Leave to 48.1% Remain result on a 72.2% turnout.

The graph here shows that when you look at the whole electorate (not just those voting) you will see only 37.4% of the whole electorate voted Leave and 34.7% voted Remain, with 27.8% of the electorate not bothering to vote.

Why does this matter? Only a few weeks ago the Trade Union Act 2016 came into law and this has impacted upon me and millions of other trade unionists. The government have “modernised” (a euphemism for “massively restricted “) the way strike ballots work as follows (taken from the government website):

The Trade Union Act will ensure industrial action only ever goes ahead when there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%.

In important public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal.

As a country we can  take the massive decision to withdraw from the EU based upon 37.4% of the electorate voting for it but cleaners in a school who want to take strike action need to have a 50% turnout and meet an additional threshold of 40% of support from all eligible members to take strike action.

It would not be enough to get a simple majority as with the EU referendum.

So there you have it, the EU referendum results breaks the law: the law relating to trade union strike ballots.

By the way, I am not posting this because I think the referendum result is invalid; I voted Remain but I do accept the result. I am posting this to make the point workers have had a second class democracy imposed upon them. 

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5 thoughts on “EU referendum result breaks the law

  1. How has the NUT managed to arrange a strike on the 5th of July, with only a 25% turnout for the ballot then?

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    • This is because section 25 of the Act says:

      “(1) This Act, apart from sections 23 to 26 (which come into force on the day on which this Act is passed), comes into force on whatever day or days the Secretary of State appoints by regulations made by statutory instrument.”

      As far as I know Secretary of State has not yet published the relevant Statutory Instrument, so the new rules don’t yet apply. Hence the NUT strike ballot.

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      • Does the above answer nullify the argument in the main article. If the new rules don’t yet apply how has the referendum broke the law

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      • Good point. In the spirit of of the Leave campaign and the comments of IDS on the £350m a week to the NHS claim, let’s just it is “an extrapolation”.

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