Top Brexiteer says EU referendum should have needed 60% vote to leave

Leading Brexiteer Steve Baker has said the EU referendum should have required a 60 percent vote to leave.

The Northern Ireland Office minister acknowledged his side would have failed under a supermajority.

But he said such a threshold would have removed the issue of politicians not accepting the result.

Mr Baker told the 65th plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA): “One regret is it probably should have been a supermajority.

“That’s a huge thing for me to say, because if it had been a supermajority we’d have lost and we’d still be in.

“But the reason I say that is if we’d had to have 60 percent, everybody would have abided by the result.

“If it had been a 60-40 result, it’s inconceivable to me that we would have had all of the political difficulty which followed from Members of Parliament in particular refusing to accept the result.”

Mr Baker, a strident supporter of leaving Brussels, made the remarks during a question-and-answer session of the assembly at the K Club in Co Kildare, Ireland.

He was responding to a question about whether he had any regrets from the Brexit campaign.

Expressing his personal view on the matter, the Northern Ireland minister then cautioned against a “50 percent plus one” result in any potential Irish unification vote.

He asked: “Would anyone here seriously want a 50 percent plus one United Ireland result in Northern Ireland?”

After some politicians indicated “yes”, Mr Baker warned them of the “trouble” caused by the simple majority caused in the Brexit referendum.

He said: “Just reflect on the trouble we had from running a 50 percent plus one referendum in the United Kingdom and ask yourself whether you really want that trouble in Northern Ireland – and I don’t.”

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