Jeremy Clarkson petition 'BBC Bring Back Clarkson' is now officially the fastest-growing campaign in history

Numbers are not always a sign of success, as petitions with smaller support have achieved victory but the BBC is refusing to say whether it will be influenced

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The Independent Culture

More people have signed the petition to get Jeremy Clarkson back on the BBC than campaigns to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and get rid of The Sun’s topless page three models.

At the time of writing, the “Bring Back Clarkson” petition was nearing 400,000 signatures and rising, whereas “Take The Bare Boobs Out Of The Sun was on 242,347. confirmed to i100 that "BBC: Bring Back Clarkson" is the fastest-growing petition they have hosted.

The campaign has now surpassed the one challenging Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week, which took off in April 2013.

Campaigners hand over a petition calling on Iain Duncan Smith to back up his claim that he could live on £53 a week by doing so for a year

That went on to get a total of almost 483,000 supporters, while a petition to pardon men convicted of anti-gay laws like Alan Turing is on 596,000.

Almost 800,000 signed a British petition calling for the release of Ghoncheh Ghavami, who was jailed in Iran for attending a volleyball match and has since been freed.

More than 1 million people from around the world backed British student Emily Clarke when she launched a petition last year to Save Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy.

At 400,000 signatures, the Jeremy Clarkson petition lags behind those campaigns but could eventually overtake them.

Set up by right-wing political blogger Guido Fawkes, real name Paul Staines, it reads: “We the undersigned petition the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson. Freedom to fracas. #BringBackClarkson”

By early Wednesday afternoon it had already topped the No More Page 3 campaign’s signatures, standing at 242,347, and the 234,373 supporters for the British Government to ensure all schools were educated about female genital mutilation.

But the lower numbers do not always mean a lack of success. Michael Gove, then the Education Secretary, met with FGM campaigner Fahma Mohamed over her petition and agreed to write to all schools in victory that inspired another successful campaign in the US.

Fahma Mohamed's FGM petition got fewer signatures but still resulted in government action said that 40 per cent of petitions on the website that achieve their aim do it with fewer than 200 signatures.

The effect of the Clarkson petition remains uncertain as the BBC declined to comment on whether its decision on the presenter's future appearances would be influenced by public support.

The controversial presenter allegedly “punched” the man because there was no food laid on at the end of a long day filming, it has been reported.

Clarkson, 54, “saw red” and “snapped” over the catering issue in Newcastle, according to the Daily Mirror, in a move that has led to the rest of the series being dropped.

Jeremy Clarkson with his Top Gear mates, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig

The BBC confirmed yesterday that Clarkson had been suspended after what it called a “fracas” and said that Sunday's episode of Top Gear, which was set to feature the presenters getting to grips with classic cars such as a Fiat 124 Spider, an MGB GT and a Peugeot 304 cabriolet, alongside Gary Lineker, would not be shown.

The remaining two episodes of the show in the current series are also believed to have been postponed.