Revoke Article 50 petition calling for Brexit to be cancelled nears five million signatures

Petition rejected by Theresa May has more than three times as many signatures as all pro-Brexit petitions combined

Emma Snaith
Sunday 24 March 2019 00:57 GMT
Brexit delay deal means ‘anything is possible’ including revoking Article 50, says European commission president Donald Tusk

An online petition calling on the government to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit has attracted nearly five million signatures.

The petition, started in late February, has the highest rate of sign-ups on record, according to the official Petitions Committee. By the early hours of Sunday morning more than 4,750,000 people had signed.

The official website has crashed numerous time since the petition leapt in popularity on Wednesday following Theresa May’s appeal to the British people to support her as she demanded MPs back her deal.

Signatures continued to be added even after the threat of a no-deal exit on 29 March was removed when EU leaders agreed Brexit could be delayed.

Asked about the growing number of signatories on Thursday, Ms May said she did not believe in halting the deadline after the EU offered a delay plan.

As the petition attracted attention, conspiracy theories arose suggesting that a small proportion of signatures from addresses listed as overseas meant that the petition had been “hijacked by bots” .

But in a tweet, the House of Commons petitions committee clarified that 96 per cent of the signatures are listed as from the UK.

They added that overseas signatures were valid, since “anyone who is a UK resident or a British citizen can sign a petition. This includes British citizens living overseas.”

Analysis by software firm Tableau of the 16,000 petitions running on the government website showed the revoke Article 50 petition had more than three times as many signatures as all the pro-Brexit petitions combined.

After the number of signatures passed one million, the petitions committee, a cross-party group of MPs appointed to examine petitions to parliament, said the rate of signing was the highest its website had ever had to deal with.

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Organiser Margaret Anne Georgiadou wrote: “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.”

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