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.
Watch the number of signatures rise on the petition to cancel Brexit https://t.co/jed6KE5f5m
— The Independent (@Independent) March 21, 2019
"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.
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."
In a phone call this evening, I made clear to the Prime Minister that we must immediately agree to a compromise alternative that supports jobs and living standards, can win the support of parliament, be negotiated with the EU and bring the country together. pic.twitter.com/pryWUyhroJ
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 20, 2019
Theresa May's damaging deal has been overwhelming rejected twice. Her government is in chaos and she is trying to bully and blackmail MPs to vote for the same bad deal.
I am in Brussels today to meet EU leaders to discuss securing our alternative of a close economic relationship
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 21, 2019
On social media, other critics called for a new Brexit referndum and new elections as a way to put controversy behind the country.
The whole Brexit mess is because we have a hung parliament. Surely the orderly way is to request a long extension, go to general election, and allow new government to move forward with a majority. #brexit #brexitcast
— Rob Humphreys (@humphrer) March 20, 2019
This is the answer: given the pig's ear the minority #Tories have made of #Brexit, abetted by #Labour, a revocation of #Article50 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. https://t.co/qSbP1VdUre
— Andy Crick (@HomeopathicPM) March 21, 2019