LONDON — Lawmakers in Britain will on Monday debate a petition calling for a second referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union.
However the debate will have no effect on the decision by a majority of British voters to leave the 28-member bloc in the June referendum. Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a second vote.
The petition, which was signed by more than 4 million people, calls on the government to bring in a rule that there should be another referendum if the vote for or against remaining in the EU is less than 60% based a turnout of less than 75%.
The country voted for Brexit – Britain’s exit from the EU — by 52% to 48% and the national turnout was 72.2%. Members of Parliament have to consider petitions signed by more than 100,000 people for debate.
On Sunday, President Obama said the U.S. and the United Kingdom would work to ensure that Brexit doesn’t adversely affect trade between the two countries, ahead of the Group of 20 economic summit in Hangzhou, China.
May told the BBC that Britain leaving the EU “may create some difficult times.”
"I am not going to pretend that it is all going to be plain sailing," she said. "I think we must be prepared for the fact that there may be some difficult times ahead, but what I am is optimistic."
On Monday, May said that India, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore said they would “welcome talks on removing the barriers to trade between our countries” and that the Australian trade minister would visit Britain this week to explore a British-Australian trade deal, following meetings on the sidelines of the summit, which ended Monday.
There has been an increase in hate crimes in the U.K. since the referendum.
Last week, six teenage boys were arrested in the town of Harlow in the southern English county of Essex after a Polish man, Arkadiusz Jóźwik, died following a street attack. His brother said the attack started after he was heard speaking Polish with his friends, the Guardian reported. Police are investigating the motive.
The Polish government has launched its own investigation into the murder.
“Under Polish law, foreigners who commit crimes against Polish citizens are subject to trial before a Polish court,” Jakub Romelczyk, the regional prosecutor for Warsaw, told Polish state broadcaster TVP Info.
Hundreds of people marched through Harlow on Saturday to honor Jóźwik.
“We also pray that our gathering will bring comfort to the family and friends of Arek and beyond that we want to affirm to all Polish citizens that they are welcome here," Reverend Robert Findlay, one of the organizers, told the BBC.