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Brexit petition to revoke article 50 exceeds 5m signatures

The Guardian logo The Guardian 25/03/2019 Seth Jacobson
© Reuters

The petition asking the British government to revoke article 50 and reconsider its plan to exit the European Union has passed the 5m-signature mark, following a massive demonstration in London on Saturday.

As of 11pm on Sunday, 5.3m people had signed the petition, making it the most popular to have been submitted to the parliament website. The previous highest total of 4,150,260 was for a 2016 petition calling for a second referendum should the initial poll not provide a definitive enough result.

The petition continued to grow following Saturday’s march, which organisers claimed saw more than a million people take to the streets of London.

Brexit in-depth: All the latest news, analysis and expert opinion

The woman behind the petition, Margaret Georgiadou, said on Saturday she had received death threats. Georgiadou tweeted that on Friday night she had received three such threats via telephone.

A Remain protester demonstrating their allegiance. © PA A Remain protester demonstrating their allegiance.

She also said she had deleted her Facebook account after receiving a “torrent of abuse”.

Related: 'Let my people go': What the papers say

There have been conspiracy theories about the petition on both sides of the debate, with some saying crashes on the site since the petition launched on Thursday were a plot to prevent further signatures. Others claimed that a small proportion of signatures from overseas IP addresses – including one from North Korea – meant the petition had been hijacked by bots. In fact, 96% of the signatures were from the UK.

On Saturday’s march, protesters waving EU flags and carrying placards weaved their way from Hyde Park Corner to Parliament Square. A large banner unfurled along Whitehall during a Peoples Vote march. © AP A large banner unfurled along Whitehall during a Peoples Vote march.

MPs lined up on stage to address the crowds and call on the government to provide a “people’s vote” on Brexit.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, accused the prime minister of having lost control of the Brexit process and said he could only back her deal if “you let the people vote on it too”. People take part in a pro-Europe demonstration in Brussels, Belgium. © Getty People take part in a pro-Europe demonstration in Brussels, Belgium.

The former Conservative MP Anna Soubry, now a member of the Independent Group, urged her parliamentary colleagues to “put your country first, get into the lobbies and vote for a people’s vote”.

Also addressing the crowds, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called for article 50 to be withdrawn.

“It’s time to give us, the British people, a final say on Brexit,” he said.

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