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Referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union

On this page you can find out about the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union (EU).

Our role

Our focus is on voters and on putting their interests first.

Our objectives for referendums are that:

  • they should be well-run and produce results that are accepted
  • there should be integrity and transparency of campaign funding and expenditure

EU referendum result

The final national totals for the EU referendum are:

  • Remain – 16,141,241
  • Leave – 17,410,742

View the full details of the result of the EU referendum

Reports on the EU referendum

Report on the regulation of campaigners at the EU referendum

We have found that that rules put in place specifically for the EU referendum worked well. We set out a number of recommendations for changes to be incorporated into the legislation that underpins UK-wide referendums.

Read our report on the regulation of campaigners at the EU referendum (PDF)

Report on how the EU referendum was run

Our report on the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU looks at the key issues that arose on the way to polling day, including the conduct of campaigners and our regulation of them, and provides data on the views of voters and the experience they had throughout this period.

The report also points to a number of recommendations that would improve the administration, regulation, and delivery of future referendums.

Read our report on the referendum on UK’s membership of the EU (PDF)

In addition to our comprehensive report, the Commission has also published reports on:

Our responsibilities

We have specific responsibilities and functions in relation to the delivery and regulation of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA).

These apply to any referendum Bill brought before the UK Parliament unless specifically stated otherwise.

Our responsibilities under PPERA

Our responsibilities under PPERA include:

  • Commenting on the intelligibility of the referendum question.
  • Registering organisations or individuals who want to campaign in the referendum.
  • Monitoring spending on referendum campaigning, in line with the referendum spending limits imposed by PPERA.
  • Considering applications for designation as lead campaign groups for each referendum outcome.
  • Ensuring that designated organisations (if appointed) have access to certain assistance.
  • Reporting on the administration of the referendum and referendum campaign spending.

The Chair of the Commission, or someone they appoint, must act as Chief Counting Officer for the referendum and is responsible for certifying the outcome of the referendum.

EU Referendum Act

The European Union Referendum Act (the Act) received Royal Assent on 17 December 2015 and was brought into force on Monday 1 February 2016.

The Act makes additions and amendments to the framework set out in PPERA to establish a regulatory framework for a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.

All parliamentary briefings issued while the Bill progressed through Parliament are available here

Designating lead campaigners

A designated lead campaigner is the lead campaign group for one side of the debate. It will act as the lead campaign group on behalf of those campaigning for that outcome.

On 13 April 2016, we designated The In Campaign Ltd as the lead campaigner for the remain outcome and Vote Leave Ltd as the lead campaigner for the Leave outcome at the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Read more about designation of lead campaigners

Guidance for EU referendum campaigners

We register campaigners in the EU referendum and provide advice and guidance on the spending and donations rules that campaigners must follow. Our guidance is available to help campaigners comply with the rules.

View our guidance for EU referendum campaigners

Question assessment

We carried out an assessment of the referendum question, to make sure that it is clear and easy for voters to understand.

Find out more on our EU referendum question assessment page

Elections & referendums