A petition to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50 has now topped 1,000,000 signatures.
An online petition calling on the British government to renounce Brexit is a resounding success, with more than a million signatures on Thursday, March 21, the day after its launch and eight days from the date set for the exit of the European Union (EU).
The numbers began to rise following Theresa May’s appeal to the British public in a speech at Downing Street on Wednesday night.
It is now ten-times higher than the 100,000-signature threshold needed for it to be debated in Parliament.
Former college lecturer Margaret Anne Newsome Georgiadou started the petition and said: ‘The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is “the will of the people”. ‘We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU. A People’s Vote may not happen – so vote now.’
The petition first crashed during rush-hour and was intermittently down throughout the day. A House of Commons spokesperson said: ‘The rate of signing is the highest the site has ever had to deal with and we have had to make some changes to ensure the site remains stable and open for signatures and new petitions. ‘Thanks for bearing with us.’
The Prime Minister is facing a backlash from MPs as she heads to Brussels to appeal to EU leaders to grant her delay to Brexit. In her statement she blamed politicians for failing to implement the result of the 2016 EU referendum, telling a frustrated nation: ‘I am on your side.’
EU Council President Donald Tusk told Mrs May she can only have an extension if her Withdrawal Agreement passes through the House of Commons. It has been rejected twice – the first time by an astonishing 230 votes, which was the largest defeat for any sitting government in history.
Mrs May is trying to bring it back to the House of Commons for a third time next week. But so far those efforts have been rebuffed by the Speaker John Bercow, citing a 400-year-old precedent. If Mrs May cannot persuade parliament to back her, then the UK is at great risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal at 11pm on March 29. MPs have already voted to leave with a deal so that means revoking Article 50 could be increasingly likely.
Article 50 is the name of the legal process in the countdown to Brexit. It was triggered by Mrs May and can be stopped by the government. However, so far all the party leaders are opposed to it with Mrs May saying it ‘betrays the vote of the referendum.’
The revoking of Article 50 began trending on Twitter following Mrs May’s speech and continued to be a global trend into Thursday afternoon.
Hugh Grant signed, “just like any sensible person”
The number of signatures took off after Theresa May’s televised speech on Wednesday night , during which the premier said it was “high time for us to make a decision” . Users were quick to share the petition, with celebrities and MPs tweeting their support for Parliament to revoke the Treaty of Lisbon clause which deals with leaving the EU. It passed the 1,000,000 mark around 3pm
Among the signatories is actor Hugh Grant. “I signed like any sensible person in this country. National emergency. Let’s revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU, “tweeted the actor as he handed over the petition. It quickly exceeded the threshold of 100,000 signatures needed to provoke a debate in Parliament.
I’ve signed. And it looks like every sane person in the country is signing too. National emergency. Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU. – Petitions https://t.co/tPgkaz1soi
— Hugh Grant (@HackedOffHugh) March 20, 2019
Other famous figures include Jennifer Saunders and TV presenter and author Caitlin Moran, physicist Brian Cox and former Labour press chief Alastair Campbell all urged their followers on social media to sign the petition.
Mrs May said she considered the delay of Brexit to be a matter of ‘great personal regret’ before rounding on MPs for failing to get her deal through the Commons. She was branded a ‘disgrace’ by fellow MPs before heading to Brussels to hold talks with the EU.
She will also hold a private chat with Emmanuel Macron hoping to persuade France not to veto any potential extension to Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also been attacked as ‘juvenile’ for refusing to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss what has been widely regarded as ‘a national crisis.’ He walked out of talks on Wednesday night because former Labour MP Chuka Umunna was in the room as the spokesman for the new rebel Independent Group.