I have just read “Why a second Brexit referendum is required by law” and find the arguments made in this article compelling.
It’s basically saying, any proposed future EU treaty that transfers areas of power, or competences, should be subject to a referendum on that treaty. The ‘referendum locks’ introduced in sections 2, 3 and 6 of The European Union Act 2011 (EUA) form part of a broader system of control over the making of various decisions related to the EU.
The exit agreement that’s being negotiated by Government Ministers will, if successful result in a future UK-EU treaty. Thus, it follows that that treaty should be subject to a referendum. That’s not a referendum about staying in the EU or leaving it, but a referendum on the final treaty that deals with the powers and competences of the EU in relation to the UK post the leaving date. Since there will be a transition period we know that there will be legal obligations to be met by both UK and EU.
I hope, I have understood this situation correctly as it seems eminently logical. The EUA remains in place to date. The reasons for the EUA being made law in the first place remain valid. As this is the case a referendum on the “deal” is thus required by UK law. To change this the Government of the day would have to repeal this EUA and as a result take away any direct say the British people may have over a final deal and transition period.
It’s not a simple passive matter of something lapsing. Being of 2011, it’s not an out-of-date law. A repeal of the EUA would be an active and wilful disenfranchisement of the British people. Quite the extreme opposite of “take back control”. More a question of we (Conservative Government) have control and there’s no way we will let the people have a say. Even to the extent of changing the law to stop a referendum taking place.