Elise Uberoi is a member of the House of Commons library. I am being helpfully referred to the back page at 6311, where the status of this briefing paper is set out in the sense that it is a publication of the House of Commons library research service, which provides MPs and their staff with impartial briefing and evidence, based -- they need to do their work in scrutinising Government, proposing legislation and supporting constituents.
Now, we relied on this briefing paper in the divisional court to evidence the historical fact that during the passage of the bill which became the 2015 Act, parliamentarians were informed that under the form of the bill, the result of the referendum would be advisory only. Which was consistent in our submission, which was the law as it then stood or the law as it was then understood by those who were going to consider this legislation. When the referendum is referred to as advisory only, what that means is that it was not legally binding.
The distinction sought to be drawn by my learned friend Mr Eadie about whether it was advisory for the Government or advisory for Parliament is not to the point, because the only point for this court, in our respectful submission, is whether the result of the referendum has any legal effect. In our submission it has no legal effect, consistent with the history, with the wording of the Act, and the law as it was understood at the time.