BREXIT: The Online petition, to revoke article 50 and halt bBrexit, is now the most popular parliamentary petition in history with over 4,000,000 signatures
A petition to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50 has just become the most popular online protest in history. The campaign has now soared past the 4,150,000 figure as an average of 2,000 people a minute sign.
At the moment, Theresa May has said she ‘will not countenance’ revoking Article 50 – which is the name of the legal process involved in Brexit.
However if rebels win the vote on an amendment on Monday, the Prime Minister could be forced to consider a handful of new options. Pausing the Brexit process by revoking Article 50 would be one of them. The petition has long-since passed the 100,000 signature threshold that means it must be debated in Parliament. It comes as hundreds of thousands of people descend on London for a march to demand a People’s Vote.
The petition was set up by former college lecturer Margaret Anne Georgiadou who said its purpose was to ‘put stop to the claim that exiting the EU is the will of the people.’ In an interview with LBC Radio yesterday, she added: ‘The government ignored us, they didn’t have any discussion with Remainers. ‘With a referendum, this is what happens because it’s not very democratic, it’s majoritarian, the majority wins, it’s ruled by the majority for the majority – sod the minority. ‘Whereas true democracy includes everybody’s opinion in society.’
The petition’s support was concentrated in London and constituencies around Cambridge, Brighton, Bristol, Oxford and Edinburgh. In the 2016 referendum, these six cities were also in favour of Remain.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom has previously dismissed the petition, pointing out it is not on the same scale as the 2016 referendum.
“Should it reach 17.4million, I am sure there will be a very clear case for taking action,”
However Ms Georgiadou questioned whether that would be possible as the servers keep crashing because of its popularity. She did tweet though:
“If Loathesome Leadsom wants 17.4m she will have them. I would enjoy ramming that number down her necklaced throat. We have until August 20.”
The previous most popular petition ran between May and November of 2016 – taking in the time of the EU referendum. It called on the Government to implement a rule that said if the Remain or Leave vote was less than 60% based on a turnout of less than 75% there should be another referendum. In the end, 51.9% voted Remain with a turnout of 72.7%.
The petition was rejected after a debate in the House of Commons, saying the referendum had received ‘overwhelming support from Parliament’ who never set a threshold for a minimum turnout. The petition to revoke Article 50 started to really gain momentum on Wednesday night during yet another week of Brexit turmoil.
On Friday, Mrs Theresa May wrote to MPs, telling them there are now four ways ahead.
- She has persuaded EU leaders to agree an extension to May 22 – if she can finally get MPs to back her deal in a third Commons ‘meaningful vote.’ On Friday night, she said if there was insufficient support for it then she wouldn’t bring it back to the House.
- If she fails to pass her deal, the UK has been told by Europe to set out an alternative way forward by the 12th April. This opens up the possibility of a much longer delay – with the UK required to hold elections to the European Parliament.
- The third option would be to crash out without a deal at all – although that is something that MPs have already voted that they do not want to happen.
- The fourth option would be to revoke Article 50, although in her letter, Mrs May said ‘that would be to betray the result of the referendum.’
On Monday, MPs will vote on an amendment put forward by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Sir Oliver Letwin. If the amendment is passed, it would pave the way for a series of ‘indicative votes’ in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
This would effectively take control of the Brexit process out of the hands of the minority Tory Government and give it to parliament. As many as 18 rebel ministers from Mrs May’s side are reported to have threatened to walk unless parliament is allowed to vote on a number of alternative plans for Brexit.
These include the choice of a Norway-style Brexit, a Canada-style deal, Labour’s customs union plan, a second referendum, no deal or revoking Article 50.