Show this chart to anyone who says Brexit is the 'will of the British people'

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The run up to triggering Article 50 wasn't an easy one for Theresa May and her government. 

The High Court's decision that MPs must have a vote on putting the wheels to leave the EU in motion enraged many pro-Brexit newspapers and leave supporters. 

You will no doubt remember the headlines: "Enemies of the people" and "betrayal"...








In response, the below graph and other versions of it, keep being used by Remain supporters to invalidate the Leave verdict.

Of course, things are never that simple.

The number of persons not on the electoral register was calculated by subtracting the size of the electorate as of 22 June 2016, from the ONS record of total UK population published on 26 February 2016.

A person may not be on the register by their own choice, or due to ineligibility such as not yet being old enough, being in prison, or not possessing UK citizenship.

EU Citizens living in the UK were ineligible unless they were from Malta, Cyprus, or the Republic of Ireland.

Members of the House of Lords are usually ineligible to vote at UK General Elections, but were allowed to vote in the EU Referendum.

British citizens who had lived abroad for more than 15 years were included in the 'Did not vote' category, as they are on the electoral register but were not permitted to vote in the referendum (nor are they allowed to vote in other UK elections).

In total, the electoral commission reported that the size of the electorate on referendum day was 46,500,001, and 72.1 per cent of that turned out to vote.

This chart is not an entirely convincing argument against Leave or Remain, but it does illustrate that 'the 52 per cent' and 'the 48 per cent' actually constitute much smaller proportions of the UK population than the figure might imply.

There are more people not on the electoral register than voted for either campaign, and the non-voters are only marginally smaller than either campaign's share of the vote.

The onus for the outcome falls on those who are registered but did not vote, who would be stuck with a decision which they did not choose, and those who are eligible to vote but have not registered.

More: Here's a list of all the people who can vote in the EU referendum, and those who can't

More: The most terrifying thing about today's tabloid front pages​

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