Screenshot of Downing Street petition to revoke Article 50 shortly after it passes one million signatories.

Screenshot of Downing Street petition to revoke Article 50 shortly after it passes one million signatories.

By Chris Bovey

There are numerous petitions on the Downing Street’s that are opposed to Brexit or calling for a People’s Vote.

The latest one has been so popular that this morning it crashed the government’s website multiple times and this afternoon just passed over one million signatories. At some points, it has been getting as much as 1,500 signatories a minute.

Of course, petitions do little to no good, the reason the Downing Street petitions website is there merely to maintain the illusion of democracy, it’s very rare for the government to actually take any notice of them. That said, when they reach a seven-figure number in a matter of days it will be difficult even for this Tory government, the most arrogant and out of touch government in living memory, to ignore.

The Downing Street petitions website works like this: If over 10,000 people respond the government will give a dismissive response and if over 100,000 MPs will debate the issue to consider it for a debate in the actual House of Commons. So you can see this is nothing like state plebiscites they have in the USA or in countries like Switzerland, where the people can actually force a change in the law.

Referenda seldom used in the UK

EU flag Brexit (Ctrl+Z)

Ctrl+Z – cancel Brexit

Referenda is rarely used in the UK. The first one was in 1975 to confirm continued membership of the EU’s predecessor the EEC, which was passed overwhelmingly.

Referenda were used to grant devolved powers in Wales and Scotland as well as regional majors in parts of the country. UK wide referendum are very rare, in fact, there have only been three, the first being the original European referendum, the second was the Alternative Vote (A.V.) referendum to make our voting system a little bit fairer, this did not receive so much media attention and didn’t pass on a very low turnout. The third and final nationwide referendum was, of course, the fraudulent Brexit vote in June 2016.

This vote was called by Cameron to try to heal divisions in the Conservatives over the European issue and to stop the racist bigot vote that traditionally supports the Tory Party going over to UKIP, which could have split the right-wing vote and let in a Labour, SNP or Lib Dem MP.

Dodgy Dave was quite convinced he would win the Brexit referendum by scaremongering, as that tactic worked in both the A.V. referendum and the Scottish independence referendum.

Alas, it didn’t go to plan and an illegally funded Leave campaign that lied through their teeth managed to scrape through with a narrow victory.

This is not the first Brexit petition to get over one million votes

This latest petition is not yet the biggest call for the government to put aside the result of the 2016 referendum, although it is the fastest growing. A petition was launched before the referendum by William Oliver Healey, a leave voter, calling on the government to run a second referendum if the vote for the winning side was less than 60% on a turnout of less than 75%. Mr Healey’s petition got little attention before the vote but more than 4 million signatures afterwards, from Remain voters who agreed with him.

The latest petition created by Margaret Anne Georgiadou has moved so fast in the last few days that the government have not yet responded to it passing the 10,000 threshold, let alone arranged a debate, having passed the 100k threshold, which they would need to get their skates on as we’re due to leave next week.

It will be hard to see how the government could be dismissive of such a large number of signatories, yet Theresa May and her cronies are so arrogant, I have no doubt they will dismiss it, just as they did with a drugs petition by Green MP, Caroline Lucas, that called for a review of drug laws that were discussed by MPs after it passed the 100,000 threshold and then ignored.

I signed this latest petition, even though I consider them generally a waste of time, and I’ll be forking out the extortionate train fare from Totnes to London to join hopefully over a million of my fellow pro-EU countrymen and women to protest against Brexit. I’ve even bought an EU poncho for the event.

If you are a British resident and have not yet signed the petition, you can do so here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584

If it is unavailable, try again later as it keeps crashing due to the high number of people wanting to sign.

Petitions is down for maintenance.

The Downing Street petition asking the government to stop Brexit is so popular that it keeps crashing their website. If you see this message and want to sign, try again later by clicking refresh.


Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @_dr_dremp.

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