Has been in UKIP manifestos for years
Nigel Farage has said that his party will be an advocate of direct democracy by giving voters the power in a referendum to block local housing, environmental or transport schemes. He also said he wanted voters to be given a more direct say in foreign affairs issues, arguing that Swiss-style referendums can bind countries together.
…Addressing the Institute for Government, Farage said “the political class has got to realise they are public servants and the public are in charge” .
He also questioned why wider referendums in the UK have been largely confined to constitutional issues, such as the future of the voting system, relationship with the European Union the creation of national and regional assemblies and whether to have elected mayors. A referendum can also be held if a local authority proposes to increase council tax by more than 3%.
He questioned why electorates can restrain council tax, but “not major planning decisions that can completely change the character and and shape of the environment”.
Asked in what circumstances he envisaged a referendum being held, the Ukip leader said people should be able to call a vote “to stop something from happening” to which they objected.
He suggested this could be triggered if 5% of the electorate – about 2.3 million people – signed a petition over a fixed period of time, such as four to six months. He claimed “frivolous causes and ideas won’t generate the organisation, media attention or money to secure enough petition signatures within a set time”.