The problem was that there was no forward planning for what to do if the country voted to leave. David Cameron didn't think it would happen so called the referendum in a rush. Huge mistake. Apparently he told Donald Tusk that he only put forward the initial bit of legislation for the referendum because he thought that the Conservative Party would still be in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats by the time he would have to call the referendum and that they would block it. The Conservatives then won a surprise majority in the 2015 general election and he had to call the referendum by a certain point. The whole thing has been a mess. I think it was perfectly acceptable to ask the country what they feel about EU membership as most of the electorate haven't had a say since the nature of the EU has changed significantly since the UK joined however many years ago. We also never had a say on the Lisbon Treaty (with the infamous Article 50) because Gordon Brown signed it before he had to go into a general election. David Cameron did say that he would hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but it was ratified before he became PM. The problem with the way the 2016 referendum was organized is that there was only about six months between David Cameron calling it and the vote itself. Everyone went into the referendum blind with each side of the debate scaremongering and lying. We had to answer a binary question when in reality there is a spectrum of views across the country. The timetable for a referendum should have been something like: David Cameron campaigns for a second term as PM with the aim of publicly discussing and investigating the current state of the EU and the UK's membership of it. Once in office the government sets up cross-party parliamentary committees to look into the country's EU membership The government discusses potential reforms with the EU and what leaving would entail The public are asked what their opinions on EU membership are. This could be door-to-door, on the streets or via surveys. After about three years of this (3/5 years into the parliamentary term), the government collates all its findings and publishes a White Paper on what it wants the UK's future relationship of the EU to be. This would encompass the full spectrum of views across the country. The government's plan is debated in parliament and then MPs vote on a referendum on EU membership One year before the end of the parliamentary term the referendum is held with enough time for political parties to figure out how to approach this for their general election campaigns OR the country goes into a general election at the end of the parliamentary term setting out their plan for the referendum and the vote is held one year into the next parliamentary term If this had been done then we'd be in a much better place and would have a proper negotiating strategy with the EU. Instead nobody knows what to do and parliament is in deadlock. I would have no problem if parliament collectively said "Look, we don't know what we're doing so we have to shelve this for a few years until we can approach it sensibly". There would be a lot of egg on a lot of faces but at least the country wouldn't be destroyed. The problem with putting No Deal on the ballot paper is that there's no majority in parliament for a No Deal scenario so it would be almost impossible to put on a ballot paper. I also think the questions should be swapped since the 2016 referendum already answered Question 1. Instead it should be: Q1. Accept the deal: Yes or No? Q2. If the deal is not accepted, should the UK leave the EU: Yes or No? I wonder if that would lead to some people refusing to answer one of the questions in protest though. I would rather not go through the months of crap required for another referendum. I tried to avoid the campaigns in 2016 and will do so again if necessary. We're basically in a No Win scenario here. Does anyone know how to beat the No Win scenario?