UPDATE: 3:55 p.m. EDT — The number of people seeking a do-over on Thursday’s Brexit vote topped 2.3 million Saturday, a British government website showed. Agence France-Presse reported those signing the petition on the House of Commons website were mostly from London and Edinburgh, Scotland, two areas that voted heavily in favor of remaining in the European Union.
Whether a second referendum is held or not, not even “leave” proponents are pushing for a swift exit from the EU. Matthew Elliot, who headed the Vote Leave campaign, told Reuters on Saturday there’s no need to take any action immediately.
“It’s best for the dust to settle over the summer and during that time for there to be informal negotiations with other states,” he said.
Britons who voted to leave the European Union this week may be experiencing a bit of buyer’s remorse in the wake of the meltdown Friday on global stock exchanges and calls by the founding members of the EU not to let the door hit the island nation on its way out.
Britain voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the alliance, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to announce plans to resign in October. World reaction was immediate, with Wall Street suffering its worst pounding in 10 months and sending the pound to a three-decade low against the dollar.
The Telegraph reported Saturday more than 1.5 million people had signed a petition on the House of Commons website seeking to have the vote rerun less than 24 hours after the results were determined. The website became overloaded when a second petition urging the mayor of London to declare the city’s independence topped 100,000 signatures. Nearly 60 percent of Londoners voted to remain in the EU.
“We the undersigned call upon [her majesty’s] government to implement a rule that if the ‘remain’ or ‘leave’ vote is less than 60 percent based on a turnout less than 75 percent, there should be another referendum,” the do-over petition reads.
The independence petition says: “Let's face it — the rest of the country disagrees. So rather than passive aggressively vote against each other at every election, let’s make the divorce official and move in with our friends on the continent. This petition is calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare London independent, and apply to join the EU — including membership of the Schengen zone (Umm, we’ll talk about the euro). Mayor Sadiq, wouldn’t you prefer to be President Sadiq? Make it happen!”
Cameron may have announced his resignation, but he did not trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which would begin easing the U.K. out of the EU. The Guardian said by failing to do so, he bought Britain time to reassess what it had done. The newspaper said it expects negotiations between London and Brussels to extend into next year, possibly triggering an early general election if a better deal is offered.
Article 50 does not specify how a withdrawal from the EU should be conducted, nor does it have any deadlines. That gives Britain significant leeway. For now, the UK remains in the trading bloc.
Analytics indicate British voters scrambled Friday to find out what they had done. Inquisitr reported Google trend data showing a 250 percent increase in people asking: “What does it mean to leave the EU?” “What is the EU?” and “What happens if we leave the EU?”
Also ticking up were questions about emigrating from the United Kingdom.
A man identified only as Adam and who voted to leave the EU told BBC Live he had no idea his vote would actually count and had assumed “remain” would win. The result, he said, has him “quite worried.”
In an Evening Standard interview, Mandy Suthi said she would go back and change her vote if she could.
“This morning the reality is actually hitting in and the regret is hitting in,” she said.