People across the UK want to see Article 50 revoked
A petition to abandon Brexit has received more than 1 million signatures online and briefly crashed the UK government website where it was being hosted. The viral campaign comes as the European Union accepted a request from the United Kingdom to delay to departure date of Friday, March 29.
EU leaders have now agreed to an unconditional extension of this date to April 12 although should Brtish Prime Minister Theresa May succeed in getting her deal with the EU past her parliament, the UK will be allowed until May 22 to pass the required legislation to make an orderly departure.
The “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU” petition has gone viral seemingly in the past two days, however, amassing over 1,091,181 signatures as of Thursday morning and steadily growing.
According to the UK’s petition website, the UK government will respond to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures. Once a petition receives 100,000 signatures, Parliament must consider the topic for formal debate.
The 'Revoke Article 50' petition states: “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.”
The Petitions Committee tweeted that this petition has received the highest rate of signing the website ever encountered:
The rate of signing is the highest the site has ever had to deal with and we have had to make some changes to ensure the site remains stable and open for signatures and new petitions. Thanks for bearing with us.— Petitions Committee (@HoCpetitions) March 21, 2019
In February, a different petition was launched in the UK that asked whether the Republic of Ireland should re-join the UK as a way to avoid to issue of the backstop. That petition has since been deleted.
The 'Revoke Article 50' petition was launched by Margaret Anne Georgiadou, who told the BBC: "I became like every other Remainer - very frustrated that we've been silenced and ignored for so long."
"So I think now it's almost like a dam bursting, because we've been held back in a sense - it's almost like last chance saloon now."
She said the petition "didn't do very well for a week".
"I nearly gave up but then I contacted a lot of people and it took off," she added.
Indeed, the petition took off following UK Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on Wednesday where she said she would ask the European Council to let the UK extend the Article 50 deadline, which is currently set for March 29.
In her speech on Wednesday, May slated the MPs in Parliament for not coming together to make a decision regarding Brexit and said the “delay is a matter of great personal regret to me.”
May said she wrote to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, to “request a short extension of Article 50 up to the 30th of June to give MPs the time to make a final choice.”
This request has now been accepted as of Thursday night with an extension until April 12.
Watch May’s March 20 address here:
Northern Ireland's response to the petition
As of Thursday morning, a map showing the signatories of the petition shows that in Northern Ireland, the Belfast South constituency has the most number of signatures with 2,333, or 2.07 percent of the constituency.
In the 2016 vote, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. Now, the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has become the main sticking point in Brexit negotiations.
Do you think the UK should revoke Article 50 in order to avoid Brexit? Let us know in the comments.