5 September – Parliamentary debate on “the petition” and Austria’s ongoing presidential run-off omnishambles




The four million signature petition is debated in parliament. Only two MPs mention the uncertainty of UK citizens living in the EU.

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The petition that got 4,000,000+ signatures was debated in parliament. MPs seemed unanimous that a second referendum was not a valid consideration – John Penrose coining the term of a “neverendum”.Having finally found time to read the full Hansard Transcript of the debate, only the Labour MPs for Tottenham and Brent North appear to acknowledge the existence of British citizens residing in EU countries, seeking clarity on where they stand. The debate highlights that the Prime Minister’s remark that “Brexit means Brexit” is looking tired and shape and substance is needed to back up this claim.

Reading through the debate encouraged me to revisit the UK Referendum Blog – as the “neverendum” does little to resolve the issue. The boat has sailed for such a possibility. Ian Paisley likened the situation to the Canaanites leaving Egypt, and then deciding they didn’t want to after all. I was bemused by the Paisley’s comment about the number of signatures living in France (perfectly explanatory given the number of British citizens living in France!)

Back to the neverendum – there is another twist in the Austrian Presidential Election re-run-off. The envelopes for the voting papers are not fit for purpose, and currently there is a genuine consideration to postpone the re-run-off – just as the campaigning began again in earnest. The electoral roll (Wählerevidenz) was also not updated since the run-off. Sometimes living in exciting times is not so great. I bet if all Austrian politicians were forced to renege all pay until Presidential election is finally put to bed that they would get their fingers out and do something. As I type there are theoretical still three weeks of the dirty campaign left, but I have a feeling that it might be 2017 before Austria has a new Bundespräsident – currently one candidate is one-third of the acting president – let’s just hope he doesn’t get the remaining two thirds of the job.

Author: mdgb

British citizen, living in Austria since 2000.