UK: Cancel-Brexit petition will make no difference

Protestors in front of Westminster
Brexit Protestors at Westminster - picture from Chiral Jon on flickr

A petition to revoke article 50 and remain in the European Union has reached more than 5.8million signatures and is to be debated by MPs on Monday – but the government has told participants it will make no difference.

The petition, which is by far the largest-ever on the UK government and parliament’s site, received a response from the Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXEU) yesterday which said “this government will not revoke article 50” (the full response is on the petition website here.

DEXEU said it remains the government’s “firm policy” not to revoke article 50 and cancel the Brexit process because it wishes to honour the 2016 referendum result.

As the petition has exceeded by many times the 100,000 signatures required for a debate by MPs, the topic is nonetheless to be debated on Monday. You can watch this at parliamentlive.tv

Typically such debates take place in Westminster Hall, a side chamber to the main House of Commons chamber. Normally no vote is taken after them and they are often poorly attended – however this time the topic is extremely timely and important, so it remains to be seen if it will be dealt with differently.

There has been some speculation on social media as to whether the wording “this” government” has any significance (ie. that it would take a change of government for revocation to occur because Theresa May’s government cannot accept it).

The petition remains open and some campaigners are now seeking to push it to more than 17million, the number of ‘Leave’ votes in 2016 (https://17millionsignatures.uk/).

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