United Kingdom

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Question Value
Legal provisions for mandatory referendums at national level
  • Yes
Legal provisions for optional referendums at national level
  • Yes
Legal provisions for citizens' initiatives at national level
  • No
Legal provisions for agenda initiatives at national level
  • No
Legal provisions for recall at national level
  • Yes
Legal provisions for direct democracy at the regional level
  • Optional referendum
Legal provisions for direct democracy at the local level
  • Optional referendum
Legal basis for direct democracy at the national level
  • Specific laws/legislation
Legal basis for administrative requirements at the national level
  • Specific laws/legislation
Who administers direct democracy mechanisms at the national level?
  • Government
First referendum/initiative held
  • 1975
Has there been a national referendum since 1980?
  • Yes

Question Value
Issues in relation to which referendums are mandatory at the national level
  • Adoption of international treaties
Issues in relation to which referendums are optional at the national level
  • Any issue decided by legislation
Issues excluded from being the subject of referendums at the national level
  • None
Issues of sub-national referendums regulated at the national level
  • Creation/merger/abolition of sub-national territories
Who can initiate an optional referendum at the national level?
  • Legislative majority
Who drafts the referendum question?
  • Mandatory referendum - Government
  • Optional referendum - Legislature
Who decides on the final form of the ballot text?
  • Mandatory referendum - Government
  • Optional referendum - Government
Quorum requirements for a referendum to be valid
  • Not specified by legislation
Requirements for a referendum to pass
  • Mandatory referendum - simple majority
  • Optional referendum - not specified
Are referendum results binding?
  • Not specified by legislation

Question Value
Issues that can be proposed by citizens using the initiative process at the national level
    Issues excluded from being the subject of an initiative at the national level
      Who may propose the registration of an initiative?
        Materials to accompany an application for registration
          Who determines the title of an initiative?
            What disqualifies a proposed title of an initiative?
              Who is responsible for checking the legality of initiatives?
                At which stage legality check is conducted?
                  Who decides the final ballot text when the initiative is put to a vote?
                    When does voting take place once an initiative is qualified for ballot?

                      Question Value
                      Which individuals/positions may be subject to the recall?
                      • Members of the national legislature
                      What are the grounds for recall?
                      • Conviction
                      • Moral turpitude
                      What restrictions are there in relation to the time period in which an individual or position can be recalled?
                      • Recall petition can be terminated if the next parliamentary elections takes place within the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which recall was initiated.
                      When is the recall put to the vote?
                      • Recall is not put to a vote at all
                      When does the election to replace an individual who has been recalled take place?
                      • Separately and subsequently
                      Can an individual who is the subject of a recall stand on the ballot for his/her own replacement?
                      • Yes

                      Question Value
                      How many signatures are required to start the formal decision making stage of a direct democracy mechanism?
                      • Recall - proportion of the electorate
                      What is the deadline for collecting required number of signatures?
                      • Recall - fixed time period
                      Restrictions in relation to the individuals who can sign the proposal
                      • Recall - signatories must be registered electors in a specified electoral district
                      Where can proposals be signed?
                      • At specified places
                      • By post
                      • By proxy
                      What information must signatories provide when signing the proposal?
                      • Not specified by legislation
                      Restrictions in relation to signature collection
                      • Requirement for signature collectors to be registered electors
                      What forms of checks are undertaken to verify signatures?
                      • All signatures are checked
                      Who checks the signatures?
                      • Agency responsible for the administration of direct democracy mechanisms

                      Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA. Maps are used in order to add visual clarity to data.