The Reason Brexit May Not Actually Happen

June 28th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Only a week after a slight majority of voters in the United Kingdom supported a referendum to leave the European Union, people are looking for a way around it.

British Labour Party lawmaker David Lammy is already campaigning on Twitter to ignore last week's Brexit referendum, where 52 percent of voters opted to leave the EU. 

Lammy's right. The government itself has to trigger an actual exit from the EU, which won't happen right away. 

The referendum wasn't legally binding. Here are three reasons that Brexit could still be stopped. 

1. Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning. 


Peter Paul Catterall, a constitutional expert from the University of Westminster, said in a Facebook Live video with Business Insider UK that Cameron's administration became a "caretaker" government after Cameron made the decision to resign because of the referendum. Basically, It doesn't make sense to start the process of negotiating a divorce with the EU until the new government is selected in the fall.

Business Insider UK Facebook Live with Peter Paul Catterall

"They don't have the authority to negotiate a deal to be finalized under a different government, so it would be very difficult to start that process," Catterall said.

Some politicians, including Lammy, are calling for a second referendum.

2. Parliament can ignore the Brexit referendum. 

Again, the referendum vote was not legally binding and voters did not vote on a method of leaving. There is already a petition for a second EU referendum that the U.K. Parliament could debate. 

Although it could be a politically fraught move, the House of Commons could refuse to initiate the exit process because there's no withdrawal plan in place.  

"It is perfectly legitimate for MPs in Parliament on the Remain side to say that they don't reject leaving the EU but we reject the terms on which you are trying to do it," Catterall said to Business Insider UK. 

Even if the House of Commons voted for the Brexit, the House of Lords, which is the upper house, could veto it because the Brexit was not decided in a general election, just a referendum. 

"You can get [a Brexit] through the House of Commons. The House of Lords, however, where the Tories do not have a majority, nor do the Brexit side, could certainly block it on the grounds of there being no mandate for it. You could then have a parliamentary standoff, an implication of the Parliament Act." — Peter Paul Catterall

3. Because the U.K. wants a divorce, Scotland may want one of its own.

As this YouGov info-graphic shows, the Scottish hold much more positive views of the EU than their British neighbors.

Scotland Euro stats

About 62 percent of Scottish voters supported the Remain side in the Brexit referendum. This clash has led Scottish politicians to ask whether they could legally refuse to consent to Brexit, according to BBC News. If Britain continues with the EU divorce, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the Scottish people would most likely vote on their independence once again.

The threat of messy breakup with Scotland could definitely put the breaks on Brexit. 

RELATED: One Chart Explains Everything You Need to Know About Why Brexit Happened