A discussion about Brexit, or Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, quickly turned into bashing in Brussels this week, as Britain’s Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, basked in his movement’s victory.
“Well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?” he said while speaking before a session of the European Parliament. “You as a political project are in denial.”
But, Brexit is not a done deal yet.
The reality is, last week’s Brexit referendum is not legally binding, and many believe a Parliamentary vote is required to break ties with the EU.
Emboldened by this fact, more than 4 million people called for a second referendum vote.
That might make sense, since Google trends showed “What is the EU?” as one of the most popular U.K. searches after the first referendum vote that took place last week.
“Unfortunately, there’s not rule against stupidity in an election or in a referendum,” said Thomas Wright, a fellow at The Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. “So it will be very hard to re-run it because you don’t know what’s in people’s minds, Google searches notwithstanding.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned after last week’s referendum vote, and today former London mayor and leader of the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, announced that he would bow out of the contest for Cameron’s replacement.
It’s not clear who will lead the ruling Conservative Party. Parliament is in the first year of a five-year term.
However, it is possible lawmakers could wipe the slate clean by holding another general election this fall. Those results would effectively serve as a second referendum, or a new Brexit vote, Wright says..
“There would need to be the political leadership to really reverse it,” he said. “But at the moment, especially with the domestic policies of the U.K. and the rest of Europe being so negative, one has to say that Brexit is more likely than not.”