Why Brexit might not happen

“Stealing” Brexit could take two forms. MPs could push for an amendment to future Brexit legislation that mandates a second referendum on the proposed Brexit terms, including an option to remain, which proponents have referred to as a “People’s Vote.” Alternatively, MPs could simply amend any future proposals to say that, in fact, Britain would remain in the E.U.

Whichever tactic pro-remain MPs decide to pursue has serious implications for the debate over who holds sovereignty in Britain, the House of Commons or the British people.

Parliamentary action to reverse Brexit without a second referendum would be politically risky, as May’s government has been insisting for the past two years that the referendum result is a clear mandate on which the government is duty-bound to deliver. Voters, even some remain voters, might well see a reversal as a betrayal. But constitutionally, the referendum result is not binding, and there are historical arguments for reasserting parliamentary sovereignty to decide Britain’s future relationship with Europe.