European Union Referendum

Story by Steve Barnard

Britain faces a big decision on 23 June. We are to vote in a referendum on our membership of the European Union (the EU).

What is a referendum?

A referendum is when the government asks everybody in the country over 18 a question that has two options. Whichever reply has 51% or more of the vote will decide the outcome.

What is the European Union?

The EU is an economic and political partnership which has grown to include 28 European countries as members. The stated aim was to create economic co-operation between countries. This was promoted as important after World War Two to help prevent another conflict.

Since then the EU has become a “single market” with its own currency, the Euro, and a parliament which makes laws and issues directives.

The referendum question

“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?”

This is the question that voters will have to answer. The options are ‘Remain a member of the EU’ and ‘Leave the EU’.

Who can vote?

Any British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18, resident in the UK, along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years can vote. Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be eligible.

EU citizens, apart from those from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus, will not get a vote.

Why is a referendum being held?

Britain joined the EU in the early 1970s and had a referendum in 1975 to decide whether we were to stay in it.

We voted to stay in but since then many people have argued that we should leave or have a second referendum. The Conservative party promised at last year’s general election that if they won, we would have a referendum by 2017.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2016-04-01 11:23:54.
The content of the page was last modified by Saleema Imam on 2016-04-01 11:39:15.

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