Sir Richard Branson calls for second EU referendum after petition gathers almost four million signatures

The Virgin Group founder has implored people to add their names to the petition

LAST UPDATED: 27 Jun, 2016 @ 12:58

brexpetitionLEADING British businessman Sir Richard Branson has called on the UK Parliament take a second look at the EU referendum after a petition online has garnered almost four million signatures.

The petition calls for a new rule to be implemented stating that polls with a majority under 60% and a turnout of less than 75% must be re-started.

Branson said in his blog: “The decision over the UK’s future was based on false promises that pushed a minority of the UK’s total voting population (17 million out of 46 million) to vote the way it did.
“Based on the misrepresentation made by the Leave campaign, Parliament needs to take the petition of more than three million people to call for a new referendum seriously. The alternative is to watch a rapid decline of Britain’s health and wellbeing.”

richard branson says spain can solve problems by legalising cannabis
Richard Branson

The Virgin Group founder has implored people to add their signatures to the petition, which has since gathered 3.6 million signatories.

The government is duty-bound to address any petition that collects more than 100,000 votes, and it will set a date to discuss it in three days time.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the viral petition has been launched following allegations that some of the names added could be fraudulent.

It is thought people from abroad have been adding their signatures and that some are signing it more than once.

Users online have pointed out that many expats live abroad and therefore have a right to sign it.

However some 77,000 signatures were removed over the weekend.

“People adding fraudulent signatures to this petition should know that they undermine the cause they pretend to support,” said lawmaker Helen Jones, who chairs the House of Commons petitions committee looking into the claims.

The Leave campaign won with 52% of the vote on June 23. 

The shock result has lead to a shake up of the UK political scene, with both of its major parties facing leadership battles.



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  1. Branson has got it right. I don’t believe Parliament will approve of Article 50. Even Merkel suggests UK shouldn’t accept the plebiscite.

    • Yes chas, article 50 has become the hot potato no-one wants to pick up. Idiot that Cameron is, that though, was one smart move, to leave it to the Brexiteers to actually put their name to the chaos to come.

  2. WE do not want another referendum, forced on us by the EU, until we surrender to their will, what we need is a General Election, let each candidate (whichever party they belong to) declare their position on Brexit, make a committment to either be identified as REMAIN or LEAVE. and agree that if they subsequently voted or campaigned contrary to their stated allegiance, they stepped down and faced re-election.

    Then the people REALLY can vote on who keeps the UK IN or OUT of the EU, and there will be no conflict or contention as there currently is.

    BOTH main parties elected to take the REMAIN position, then 16+ million people voted to LEAVE, so the main parties can hardly be entrusted with handling the EXIT negotiations, that would be akin to allowing a reluctant spurned spouse to decide the divorce settlements.

    SO call a General Election and lets see who ends up empowered to carry out their voters wishes.

    Leave supporters get the chance to elect those who will represent them, Remain supporters get (in effect) a second chance to persuade those 52% of LEAVE supporters to change their minds.

    • John, there are lots of scenarios here. It is said that 75% of the MPs are currently pro-Remain. It’s true that a general election would allow the electorate to vote in an MP or their choice, either leave/remain, and then the overall vote can be taken – that seems fair. Another way would be for Cameron to be ousted and a new peo-leave PM to invoke article 50. Cameron might choose to invoke it too, but I think he wants the “poisoned chalice” to fall to his replacement, so that they can press the self-destruct button. Be under no impression that invoking article 50 will lead to massive suffering in the UK over the next decade, and maybe even beyond. Just read the news today as to what is happening already in numerous sectors because of Brexit, such as in agriculture and finance.

    • “ was the absurdly low bar for exit, requiring only a simple majority. Given voter turnout of 70%, this meant that the leave campaign won with only 36% of eligible voters backing it.Not enough people voting was the problem.” Rogoff, Boston Globe
      In a democracy, the majority did not speak. This issue is bigger than a simple majority, 51% winner take all issue.

    • John, that’s a long way round the houses to say we should not conduct referendums, but let decisions of this nature, be decided by the government of the day.
      With which I fully agree.

  3. The EU is far too complex an entity to have a referendum on, and it should never have been offered by Cameron in the first place. This is not a general election with a manifesto. People are not getting the full facts, and are not comprehending the enormity of the issue. In hindsight there should have been no campaigning allowed, at all, and an independent body should have written up a detailed guide to what we would lose and gain, and that should have been presented to the people. Instead, we’ve had battle buses and outright xenophobia, and social media has also been used to manipulate people massively. The remain side also made some ridiculous claims too, of course. The fact that many thousands of overseas voters had their forms destroyed or mislaid is also a travesty, and the 15 year rule was also totally ridiculous and should have been sorted out beforehand, and not days before the referendum took place.

    The referendum result does not mean article 50 will be enacted. Let us hope parliament will now reject it. The majority was far too small in any event, especially for a change of this magnitude.

    • Well according to you, the technocrats should run everything, the people who work and pay for everything shouldn’t have a voice because the issues are “too complex”. Just like the witch doctors of old reading signs from the stars and telling everyone else what to do.

      Really its quite simple who should control the UK, a sovereign national parliament or a group of unelected bureaucrats answerable to no one in the heart of Brussels?

      • Andy, a referendum was too complex on _this_ (leaving the EU) issue is what I actually said. Only MPs can vote on this at the end of the day. Sovereignty lays within the monarchy, and the MPs and peers. If MPs vote to enact article 50 it would then at least be a totally democratic decision, and at least MPs can debate and have access to much more information, as well as hearing their own constituents opinions. A general election may be required. A 2nd referendum is highly unlikely. If the first referendum can be proved to be flawed or corrupted in some way, then maybe it will be struck out, but again highly unlikely. You said it yourself Andy “who should control the UK, a sovereign national parliament…” and the answer is yes, the parliament should control it, and to do that they will need to vote and repeal the union act.

  4. Well the petition is a joke and not reliable and is being investigated for fraud.
    The referendum came and went and people cast their vote, they do not now get a second roll of the dice just because it didn’t go their way or will this now be the case with all elections? If people vote to remain it will basically be the last time they are able to vote for anything meaningful considering today the EU just came out and said the EU should assume complete control of:

    – The army
    – Central bank
    – Tax system
    – Criminal law

    Some of you might think that living under such as dictatorship is good I don’t and hopefully many more will be wake up and see what is happening in the EU and vote to leave.
    I do not want my children to grow up under such a dictatorship and I am sure if people knew how the EU actually works they wouldn’t either.

    • The biggest joke of all about this petition is, the bloke who started it is a fervent Outer. He thought he was being smart by drawing up a petition ready for when the leavers lost the vote. Instead it backfired on Mr. Oliver Healey and now he’s squawking with indignation that his sneaky brainwave has been used by the other side.
      Instant Karma and really funny.. First bright spark in the whole sorry mess. (To come)

  5. A second referendum is not the way. This is the petition that needs to be signed:

    Sovereignty of the UK rests with the Queen, her MPs and peers. Only they, and they alone, can vote to enact Article 50.

  6. Andy, I am no fan of the EU and think it must radically reform and junk the evil Juncker who, incidentially, must play no part whatsoever in any exit negotiations.

    However, this is completely the wrong way to go about it. Both Leave and Remain campaigns were dreadful and the Leave side told a pack of lies and worst of all, doesn’t have a plan. I am sorry to say that a large percentage of the electorate do not understand enough to be able to vote on a complex issue such as this and many of the Leave voters were very old and will be dead in a few years’ time. To make matters worse, many now admit they didn’t realise the implications of their vote and about 1.1 million people now regret voting to Leave. I think some people voted emotionally and others just saw it as one great big political raspberry.

    One other point, very few people actually knew that official exit negotiations/talks cannot commence until Article 50 has been triggered which effectively holds the UK to ransom i.e. you don’t know what kind of deal you are going to get until you have committed to leave the EU and there is no turning back. It was negligent of the Leave campaign not to make this crystal clear before the referendum and the Remain campaign should have also made it clearer.

    It is an utter basket case and I think the only way forward is to have another referendum without any campaigning.

    • Again the argument people are too stupid to vote, and now more alarming you say many of the “Leave voters were very old and will be dead in a few years’ time”. What a very undemocratic thing to say, so they pay taxes all their lives but because they are “old” their opinions should not count. Maybe people with long terminal illness shouldn’t vote either because they will be “dead soon too”, maybe people with dangerous professions should be excluded too. I honestly despair that some of you think that others should not vote because the issues are “too complex” or because they are “too old” or “might die in a few years”. It comes down to something very simple and old which many people in the past have died for FREEDOM, should a country be run by its own national parliament i.e. a self governing nation state or by some unelected bureaucrats remote from the people whose lives they control and with the EU even micro-manage. Its no more simple than that i.e who should make laws and who should choose who makes those laws. If you want to be run by such a remote unelected, unrepresentative group of elite who only pass laws for lobbyists, big business and are unaccountable to no one then like I say I despair luckily over 17 million in the UK do not agree with you.
      And as for the polls that 1.1 million regret the vote, how is that even vetted? Who did they ask? How do we know how they really voted first time around? Is this poll also a complete fraud like the one for the 2nd referendum? And finally it doesnt matter a vote is a vote.

      • Andy, I hope you are prepared for your life in Spain (whether permanent or even just a holiday home) to become very much more difficult in the not too distant future. I hope you think it was all worth it. Re my comment on the older people who voted Leave, they are not going to be around to pick up the pieces and suffer the consequences are they? Yes, they have paid taxes but what about the future of younger people who will (probably) be around for much longer? There is a minimum age for voting so there should have been an upper age limit too – do you really think someone of 80+ is in a position of vote on something of this magnitude? If this referendum had been held 5 years from now, the outcome would have been very different and reflected the demographic shift.

        Suppose a future government decides to take the UK into the EU again at some point in the future? We will get a bad deal, have to join the Euro, lose the rebate and no doubt end up having to contribute far more than we do now.

        It’s not only Brits who have become disillusioned with the EU so reform yes, get out altogether, no.

      • Oxymoron. Yes laws should be drawn up by a democratically elected body. But a daft lottery such as referendums have no part in the process. At most, they should only have an advisory function, a kind of temperature-gauge.
        These things are no way to run a country.

  7. I love the Olive Press, its quality of news and editorial content. Its readers are usually the most highly educated and informed, yet I know that not a single word I write will change a single mind and that I am wasting my time but the issue is so important that one must comment even if there is the chance that one person could begin to see the light, so here goes ..

    I would personally like to live in a world where we were one people with one language, one currency, one religion and one government, but our history and cultures do not allow this day to arrive any time soon.

    Almost ALL leaders of governments, monarchies, religions and large enterprises are corrupt to the core, in fact it is almost impossible to develop a career within any of these organisations if you are honest as the system developed over centuries of back scratching simply does not allow itself to become subject to exposure.

    The European dream is exactly that, as one must be asleep to believe it is true. The words sound good, and one can understand how the people working within the structure can lie to themselves, convincing themselves that they are doing good when they are actually participants in the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on a global scale.

    Forget your fears about trade as traders will always find a way to trade, think about jobs for the indigenous population before you feel sorry for the financial migrants who we would be better helping to bring their own country and culture into the 16th or 17th century rather than simply keep our own population uneducated and unwilling to work whilst employing almost slave labour to satisfy the need that is created by our stupid benefits system in combination with our pathetic education systems.

    Mr Branson should shut up as he has no right to comment on either business OR Great Britain since he is tax resident in the Virgin Islands, pays no tax in the UK and is a convicted major VAT fraudster who used the benefits of his crime to launch his business rather than hard work and professionalism that honest entrepreneurs must utilise. Anyone can build a multi-million pound business when they start with stolen millions (in today’s money) and leave a trail of bankruptcies behind you whilst keeping hold of the money.

    Britain has a chance, for the first time in 50 years to unify Europe by showing it how to reduce crime, support its elderly and educate its youth to create a positive place where migrants who wish to both give and take may wish to come and integrate, bringing their history and culture with them but not imposing it on the country.

    The countries and people of Europe are a wonderful melting pot of ideas, experience and creativity, but the integration of these cultures and people must be controlled just as one must regulate the ingredients when baking any good pie. Simply throwing a bunch of stuff into a bowl and then putting it in the oven will never create the end result desired.

    These are very dangerous and yet exciting times when your grandchildren’s futures are being carved out by a new generation of good men outnumbered by so many evil and ignorant people that it is not only your right nut your DUTY to investigate the truth, decide upon your priorities and raise your voice on the side you choose to support rather than continue that age old British trait of quietly waiting in the queue for slaughter. The truth is there to find, it is not easy to comprehend as it requires that you understand the evil that mankind is capable in pursuit of power and wealth without thought or consideration for the lives of others. Thankfully so many of you will find this almost impossible to contemplate as it is so alien to your good nature, but only when you grasp the way we have been manipulated throughout history by monarchs, religious, political, and business leaders can you begin to plan for a future where they no longer can cause such misery to so many.

    Once again, I do not believe that a single mind will become more open resulting from my words, but after 35 years in business, trading on 3 continents, employing thousands of great people, and a fair share of not so great, I am coming to a point of frustration that is becoming all consuming as I see good people with good intentions argue the finer points of which bullet they should be shot with, and silence is no longer an option.

    An open mind is worth many times an open mouth, but now is the time to shout from the rooftops that you will no longer be dictated to and that you will work together against evil men to find solutions able to save our future generations from war, famine, and the decline in our planets ability to sustain life.

      • I truly love the Buddhist words and beliefs, I hope my efforts to be “proper” someday can live up to the standards set by such great men as Buddha, however, whilst waiting for the world to change as each man changes himself, some evil little devils will constantly make your world a living hell.
        30,000 children die each day for lack of clean water whilst we wait for men to improve themselves, millions die each year in wars for Gold, Oil and Diamonds, the real G.O.D. these evil men worship, Billions live in abject poverty whilst a handful of people own 3/4 of the world and dread the day any of these people ask for a living wage in fear of retail profits reducing from increased costs.

        I am by no means a tree hugger and have made enough money in my life to feel rather hypocritical at some of my feelings having spent money on fast cars, big houses, yachts and helicopters over almost half a century, but I realise that if I gave everything I had ever earned to one worthy cause or another I would relieve suffering for less than a moment in time when actively discussing change with those that can work to initiate change is better use towards a more long lasting result.

        You and Buddha are absolutely correct in the time of Buddha, but in these days of centralised power and protected corruption throughout the world, it’s time to spread the desire to change to outside oneself.

        Ask yourself each day as you sip your Avion, what would I do if it were my son dying from dirty water or a bullet in some meaningless war that serves only to make the rich more wealthy and the poor to die.

  8. In conclusion, sorry for the evangelical preaching….

    … if there were a single group of politicians that one could trust to represent anyone but themselves, I could agree with many of the comments on here that I have read. The public can be far too easily swayed by bias press and media, however when you have caught your ELECTED politicians, your UN-ELECTED European commissioners and most local councils in Europe lying, stealing and misleading the public for personal gain or party elections, the trust simply is not there and once you find that people you are being asked to sign over ultimate power to control your armed forces, police and courts are crooks, it’s time for a tactical retreat.

    • Cheer up Mark, it’s not time for the robe and begging bowl yet. All we can do, is live the life we find ourselves in, and live it according to what is fair and just.
      Simples eh?

  9. Sour grapes from Branson, another big Company Tycoon that benefits from the EU. The vote was legitimate and democratic. Is ridiculous how the remainers are ignoring the democratic will of the UK.
    Get used to the fact we are finished with the corrupt EU, and on our way to FREEDOM.
    Article 50 will be triggered once a new PM is in place, and in two years we can wave good bye to the Fascist Dictatorship that calls itself the EU.

    • Robert,
      you name it. But didn’t you overlook one detail? Boris J. is a officer of the Russian KGB secret service and got the order from Wladimir Putin himself to destroy the EU and to devide the British Conservative Party and the Labour Party as well as the British society and to devalue the British Pound. As his mission is now accomplished, Boris sees no reason to declare the withdrawal of the UK from the EU by applying article 50 of the EU Treaty and to explain to the British public, how the Brexit should be executed and how the British nation should be kept together. Didn’t you watch today Nigel Farage at his speech at the EU Parliament? Nigel was very upset, that Boris is not going to execute the result of the referendum asap. Didn’t James Bond warn “M” and Nigel of agent Boris? Usually British patriotic conservatives are named Nigel, David, Robert, Michael…, but BORIS???

      Didn’t James Bond warn you of Kolbeinn Sigthorsson too? He owns a Teutonic name. Kolbeinn translates to ‘Hard as Bone’ and Sigthorsson translates to ‘Son of the Final Goalgetter’. Sighthorson is the agent who yesterday caused the Brexit of your soccer team. Deepest condolences!

  10. Meanwhile, the vast majority of young people, who voted overwhelmingly to remain, feel their own future has been taken out of their hands by an aging UK population that will not have to suffer the consequences of a lifetime out of Europe.

    • Arnie, 64% of 18-25’s did not bother to vote at all. Of the remaining 36% who did vote, a quarter of those still voted Leave. We haven’t left Europe btw we’re still linked and we haven’t brexited yet.

  11. The European Union is in total crisis. It has been since 2008 and it is incredible that it has yet to collapse. Since the European Union not the slightest change or evolution has occurred. Talk about xenophobia? it’s actually going in reverse! Nobody in Catalonia even wants to try to speak or trade in English, they have begun teaching Catalan as the second language for example and that is just one area in Spain. . What a load of baloney the whole thing is and you lot are simply uninformed. Ps. The young want to remain so they can go and travel in the e u and work without visas. It’s not any deeper than that, millennials and the ones before are the most conditioned and controlled by the nonsense on social media. We have got to sort it out with common sense, it’s still fear mongering gone to the absurd. Nobody agreed with the refugee policies of eu, they didn’t and don’t listen to the people at all yet it has proven to be a disaster. I have not seen anything to show that the European Union has improved anything for anyone. In fact to the contrary less jobs, more xenophobia, more poverty, more corruption less safety… goes on and on

  12. So, This total nonsense affected every single area of a persons life has it? Nobody understand that independent study in to human life is personal business and nobody thinks it was wrong to be interfered with a life’s work to the point that was portrayed as the absolute opposite polar of the intention. That’s not life, that’s total sabotage and violation of privacy, harassment and beyond defamation. It’s way too far and is too far of an abuse of somebody who actually has a serious point to make still has to be subjected to exclusion, ridicule and isolation….years and Years later! Oh the ignorance is beyond astonishing. The devil really did a great job of silencing an angel….onwards then with the procession of evil as we blindly follow unquestioningly

  13. stefanjo.
    I notice Austria has taken a hard line on immigration in recent months, placing a daily cap on the number of asylum applications, and a number of Balkan states have begun building border fences to keep immigrants out.

    So I’m slightly confused here. Is this the kind of wall and to a certain extent to scrutinise applications to visit the U.S.A that Trump suggested prior to his campaign which created an outcry from most European countries including a strong voice from Britain at the time. Most Euro countries have now erected “walls”, fences, call them what you wish including Britain, using the sea as a “wall” and yet Trump has not even been elected and started to build his wall..

    One must also consider America has well over 10 million illegal immigrants compared to a few million scattered around the EU countries even though Germany had invited a million or so due to it’s aging population. Was Trump right or wrong and if wrong why not tear down the”Wall fences” that Europe has already installed.
    Talk about calling the kettle black. Just a thought.

  14. I notice Austria has taken a hard line on immigration in recent months, placing a daily cap on the number of asylum applications, and a number of Balkan states have begun building border fences to keep migrants out.

    So I’m slightly confused here. Is this the kind of wall and to a certain extent to scrutinise applications to visit the U.S.A that Trump suggested prior to his campaign which created an outcry from most European countries including a strong voice from Britain at the time. Most Euro countries have now erected “walls”, fences, call them what you wish including Britain, using the sea as a “wall” and yet Trump has not even been elected and started to build his wall..

    One must also consider that America has well over 10 million illegal immigrants compared to a few million scattered around the EU countries even though Germany had invited a million or so due to it’s aging population. Was Trump right or wrong and if wrong why not tear down the”Wall fences” that Europe has already installed and will continue to install.
    Talk about calling the kettle black. Just a thought.

  15. Looking at some of the comments on this thread is very revealing of the basic nature of some. Self interest and some showing their serf like attitude. really it’s very simple – democracy is rule by the people. In Athens many saw just how depraved slavery was, not only for the enslaved but also for those that owned slaves. This brought about the democracy movement, literally it means rule by the people of the city.

    What passes for democracy in the UK and across Europe is rule OF the people. Dress this up any way you like, this is fascism, which cretinous serfs love because it removes any self responsibility from their miserable lives/existence.

    On this forum is a classic example of the serf mentality, he has repeatedly insulted and defamed those who are free men and women, who think for themselves and don’t need a ‘glorious leader’. It was exactly these defamatory comments that turned many who had doubts about Brexit into fervent supporters of Leave. Those who see clearly that it was the commercial interests that turned the European Steel and Coal Community into the EU for their interests only will be looking forward to the change and uncertainty (which terrifies serfs) that lie ahead.

    Italy is on the brink as the young PM with a huge ego has called a referendum to decide on change in the corrupt Italian system. This Ref. is much more than that. If the Italian banks collapse then ordinary Italians who bought the bank bonds will find themselves broke, what will the fat frau do then. Anyone who doubts that the Germans call the shots for everything that happens in the EU should take a reality check. The Germans and French banks were bailed out at the expense of ordinary Greeks who had sod all say in how their country was run but it is they who are paying the price – the Italian people see this clearly. They are not passive serfs like so many on the island. If Italy goes it will truly be the beginning of the end of the EU. Waiting quietly in the shadows are the Dutch,Austrians, Finns and simmering quietly, at the moment are the French.

    There are no political solutions, politics is the problem. Perhaps this is the end of political corruption and control and the beginning of reality. For those Brits fixated on Brexit, you really need to check out the real situations (they are multiple) that are going to truly affect your future whether in the UK or on the mainland.

  16. it should be remembered that Branson is another tax exile, like so many and therefore should be denied any publicity.

    Joseph Stiglitz the economist has written a very good piece on the Euro today in the Guardian, it should be required reading for those contributing to this thread.

  17. Well what can I say. To all the people that consistently knocked Spain will now have the chance to make a better life for themselves back in the country they left. You remind me of the bunch that fled their country and are not happy with the laws of their new country Britain, trying to introduce the Sharia Law and try to live the life they fled from. I know you don’t have the courage to leave such a dreadful place like Spain so it was left to the “leavers” to decide it for you. Strange how the remainders have suddenly realized that the country they kept knocking is after all a nice place to live and as for people that own villas or flats as a bolt hole for a better living style from the dredge of the British style will still be able to visit their properties in Spain for short periods of time once they obtain a visa (my American friend gets a yearly 3 months period) unless the EU adheres to the UK demands. As for people wishing to retire here, well that’s another matter, ask Chas. Personally it would be better to get the best price possible, if saleable, for their property in Spain (no more non-residential taxes etc) and rent, cheaper in the long run and no worries with a few extra quid in the piggy bank, and remain in the country of their dream, Britain.