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  1. ITV Report

MPs to debate second referendum after record-breaking petition

The petition set up by William Oliver Healey had intended to demand a repeat vote in the event of a narrow victory for Remain. Credit: Petition.parliament.uk

MPs will debate calls for a second EU referendum after a record-breaking online petition was signed by more than four million people.

The petition was set up by a Brexit supporter ahead of the referendum calling on the Government to order another public vote if the majority result was less than 60% on a turnout under 75%.

The May 23 referendum returned a 51.9%-48.1% result in favour of Britain leaving the EU after a turnout of 72.2%.

Remain voters angry at the result rallied behind the petition to demand a repeat public poll.

The Commons Petitions Committee confirmed the scale of support for the appeal justifies a House of Commons debate.

Prior to the Leave campaign's surprise victory, Nigel Farage said a 52-48 result would leave 'unfinished business by a long way'. Credit: PA

“The debate will allow MPs to put forward a range of views on behalf of their constituents," a spokesperson said. "At the end of the debate, a Government Minister will respond to the points raised.”

But the committee made it clear its response was not an endorsement of the petition.

“The Petitions Committee would like to make clear that, in scheduling this debate, they are not supporting the call for a second referendum."

The debate will be held in Westminster Hall, the Commons' second chamber, on September 5, opened by the SNP's Ian Blackford but the views exchanged will not have the power to change the law.

Soon-to-be Prime Minister Theresa May appears to have ruled out any chance of a repeat vote, saying: "Brexit means Brexit."