Petition to cancel Brexit crashes UK government website

Petition to cancel Brexit crashes UK government website
© Getty Images

A petition urging British Prime Minister Theresa May to cancel the United Kingdom's formal exit from the European Union crashed Parliament's website on Thursday with its high rate of signatures.

"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," the Petitions Committee tweeted on Thursday.

The committee said in a separate tweet that between 80,000 and 100,000 people have been simultaneously viewing the petition to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU. The petition had more than 920,000 signatures as of Thursday morning. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Parliament said on the website that all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate. The government is also mandated to respond to all petitions that receive more than 10,000 signatures. 

May is heading to Brussels on Thursday to ask the EU to delay the Brexit date, currently scheduled for later this month. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC that revoking Article 50 was "highly unlikely."

House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom added that the petition's popularity wasn't near the scale of the country's 2016 vote in favor of the Brexit referendum. 

"Should it reach 17.4 million respondents then I am sure there will be a very clear case for taking action," she reportedly said. "It's absolutely right that people do have the opportunity to put their views and that can then spark yet another Brexit debate."

Margaret Anne Georgiadou, who started the petition, told BBC that she launched it out of frustration that the people's voice has been "ignored." She added that the petition "took off" this week after initially failing to gain attention. 

Fifty-two percent of British voters supported a referendum in 2016 to leave the EU. But the government has struggled to formulate a transition plan. 

The House of Commons has rejected Brexit deals from May on multiple occasions this year. 

The British Parliament last week rejected an amendment that would have have led to a second referendum on Brexit. The move does not rule out Parliament's ability to revisit the prospect.