Who has the power to call a referendum in the UK?


Union Jack, Saltire & Shetland flag. Julien Carnot

Who can call a referendum and is the result binding?

In the UK, only the Westminster Parliament has the power to authorise a referendum, which is why Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has to get the approval of Prime Minister Theresa May before a second referendum on Scottish independence can be held. In the British constitution, Parliament is sovereign so technically could ignore the result of a referendum but politically is very unlikely to do so.

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