Major Referendums in any part of UK


The definition of a major referendum is one that comes under the remit of the UK Electoral Commission. As the Commission has existed only since 2000: referendums held before that are a matter of judgement though usually self-evident.

2011 UK says No to electing MPs by AV voting system

Yes 32.1%  No 67.9%  Turnout 42.2% Tags: TS major-referendums

2011 Wales votes Yes to granting law making powers to Assembly

Yes 63.4%   No 36.5%   turnout  35.3% Tags: TS major-referendums

1998 Northern Ireland votes Yes to Good Friday Agreement – in huge turnout

71% Yes on 81% turnout. Apart from the huge turnout where 140,000 people who didn’t normally vote came to the polls, the referendum was organised and decided in 9.5 weeks almost too short for anywhere but NI. The YES camapign was founded 19th March 1998, the Agreement signed on 10th April and the vote held […]

1998 London votes for Regional Assembly

Yes 72% on 34% turnout Tags: TS major-referendums

1997 Wales votes for Welsh Assembly by narrowest margin

Yes 50.3 on 50% turnout. The Vote held one week after the Scottish referendum in hope that the Scottish result would boost the Yes side. An example of domino voting in referendums. Tags: TS major-referendums

1997 Scotland Votes for Devolved Parliament

Yes 74.3%  on  60.4% turnout

1997 Scotland Votes for Tax power

Yes 63.5% on 60.4% turnout Tags: TS major-referendums

1994 Strathclyde voters reject Water privatisation

97.2% NO on turnout of 71.5% in postal vote. About 1.2m people voted.  The vote was held in March. It hardly fulfills the requirements for a referendum. It was advisory but proved an effective tactic in preventing HMG’s plan to privatise water in Scotland. Tags: TS major-referendums

1979 Scotland votes Yes to Assembly – Result Invalid

Yes 52% on 64% turnout. Vote failed to be approved by more that by 40% of registerd voters. Tags: TS major-referendums

1979 Wales strongly rejects Welsh Assembly

No 80% on 59% turnout Tags: TS major-referendums

1979 Shetland votes No to Scottish Assembly

On a turnout of 50.3%, 73% voted NO to devolution for Scotland. Jo Grimond, the local MP had won an amendment to the referendum bill that required Shetland votes be counted separately and , if Scotland voted YES, Shetland would be excluded from devolution. In effect it was a separate referendum. Tags: TS major-referendums

1979 Wales strongly rejects Assembly

80% NO on 58% turnout. The comparison with the result in 1997 shows a big swing in public opinion to the idea of an assembly. Tags: TS major-referendums

1975 Britain votes to stay in EEC

Yes 67.2%  turnout 64.5%

1922 Northern Ireland votes to revert to UK – after 48 hours in Ireland

Ireland became an independent country on 6 December 1921. A referendum was held on 12 December 1922 in six of the nine counties and 2 county boroughs (after 48 hours in Ireland and had to be held within a month) exercising the opt-out to rejoin UK.  Strictly a referendum in Ireland but material to the […]

1920 Scotland votes No to Prohibition (exceptions included Kirkintilloch)

In December of this year, Scotland held a national referendum on prohibition which was strongly rejected by voters. Historians point out that simply the fact that the referendum was held demonstrates how powerful and widespread the temperance movement was worldwide at this point in history. Prohibition in US in effect from  January 1920 to December […]