'Bring Back Clarkson': Jeremy Clarkson supporters outnumber members of major – and minor – UK political parties combined

The petition has attracted more support than any politician could hope for

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Jeremy Clarkson, allegedly suspended from the BBC after starting a 'fracas' because he 'wasn't served steak', has managed to attract more supporters than any political party could ever dream of.

The Bring Back Clarkson petition on Change.org, started by political blogger Paul Staines - aka Guido Fawkes - has attracted nearly 700,000 signatures.

This figure far outstrips the membership of all major political parties combined - and some minor ones, too. The total combined Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, Ukip, SNP and Plaid Cyrmu membership stands at just 632,000, a fair way off the brash Top Gear presenter's supporters.

According to Parliament figures, the Conservatives currently have around 149,000 members, Labour have 190,000, and the Liberal Democrats have 44,000. The Green Party's membership stands at 44,000, the Scottish National Party have 93,000, Ukip are on 42,000 and Plaid Cymru are estimated to have around 70,000 members. The petition to reinstate Clarkson reads simply: "We the undersigned petition the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson. Freedom to fracas. #BringBackClarkson."

Clarkson is suspended from the programme pending a BBC investigation and the programme will not be aired on Sunday.

The presenter is no stranger to controversy, and has previously been embroiled in racism scandals - such as when he described Mexican people as "lazy". The BBC apologised to Mexico after the remark. He was also criticised after saying striking public sector workers should be "executed in front of their families" in 2011.

The petition has also attracted more signatures than votes cast in the General Election for the SNP (168,216) the Green Party (285,616) but is still shy of Ukip's 919,546. However, given the fact that the petition is the fastest-growing campaign of all time, Clarkson could well beat Nigel Farage.

In an earlier version of this article The Independent said Clarkson said Mexicans were "lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat". Richard Hammond said this. Clarkson instead said Mexicans were "lazy", "feckless" and "flatulent". We are happy to clear this up.

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