Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament on March 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

More Than One Million Crash UK Petition Site With Demand to Cancel Brexit

"Given the pig's ear the minority Tories have made of Brexit, abetted by Labour, a revocation of Article 50 and a new election would allow these parties to set out their stalls and to give people a choice of voting for a proper plan or to remain."

The British Parliament's petitions website crashed Thursday morning as over a million of Britons attempted to make their opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan known.

Hours after May chastised members of Parliament for rejecting her Brexit plan a second time, an anti-Brexit petition was gathering about 1,500 signatures per minute when it crashed the website for 40 minutes. The site then briefly went up before failing again.

As of this writing, more than one million people had signed the petition demanding that May's invocation of Article 50 of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, which allows a country to formally withdraw from the EU, be revoked.

"The government repeatedly claims exiting the E.U. is the will of the people," reads the petition. "We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now for remaining in the E.U. A people's vote may not happen, so vote now."

The petition quickly reached the 100,000-signature threshold to force a debate in Parliament over the proposal after being posted on the government website Wednesday evening.

The site crashed as May was headed to Brussels to ask that the E.U. give her an extension for formalizing Brexit till June 30. May had originally planned for the U.K. to officially leave the E.U. by March 29, but Parliament has twice rejected her plan by wide margins in the past two months, most recently in a 242-391 vote on March 12.

May's current plan involves a "soft" version of the Brexit plan, which 52 percent of voters in the United Kingdom supported in a June 2016 referendum.

In contrast to a "hard" deal which would have involved a complete withdrawal from the E.U., May's deal would include less stringent controls on immigration into the U.K. and would retain its participation in the E.U.'s single market.

Critics of May's deal argue that a "soft" Brexit would still damage the nation's economy.

As Jen Kirby explained at Vox last November after May reached her deal with the E.U., "every political camp within the UK has found something to hate in this agreement": 

The hardline "Brexiteers" in her party are virulently opposed—though it's unlikely they'd be pleased by any deal. They see May's deal as preventing the U.K. from reclaiming control of its borders and laws, and blocking it from making trade deals with other countries...

Labour has its own disagreements about Brexit within the party, but it has collectively rejected May’s deal, saying it doesn't meet their required pillars for a satisfactory Brexit...

The bottom line: Few are satisfied with this compromise, because the U.K. is splintered between those who want out of the E.U. and those who never wanted to leave in the first place. No side actually "wins" with this deal.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called May's continued attempts to salvage the deal and move towards a withdrawal from the E.U. in June "unacceptable and reckless."

Before Parliament rejected May's deal for a first time in January—by the largest margin in the British government's history—Corbyn was among those who called for a new election if the plan failed.

On social media, other critics called for a new Brexit referndum and new elections as a way to put controversy behind the country.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Summit Participants Embrace 'Vaccine Internationalism' to End Pandemic

"Our goal is simple: to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by securing Covid-19 vaccines for all," says the coordinator of Progressive International's four-day virtual summit.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

As Iran Elects New President, Experts Urge Biden to Rejoin Nuclear Deal, Lift Sanctions

"The Biden administration must remain resolute and seek a break from the disastrous conditions that helped contribute to this result."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·

'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·