Petition calling for UK to hold 2nd EU referendum soars past 2mn signatures
The petition on the British parliament website was posted before the June 23 referendum, urging the government to hold another vote on EU membership if the support for ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ campaigns will be less than 60 percent of the populace. Thursday’s referendum saw only 51.9 per cent of voters supporting the idea of exiting the bloc, while 48.9 per cent voted to stay.
Only British citizens or UK residents have the right to sign the petition, and it has proved to be increasingly popular, with the number of signatories rising sharply on Saturday, at a rate of some 1,000 signatures per minute at one point. The website indicates the majority of those who signed the petition are based in regions where ‘stay’ support was strongest. This includes London, where people launched their own petition, calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare the capital city an independent state and apply for EU membership.
Scotland was also among the regions that voted to remain in the bloc, with all 32 local authorities or roughly 62 percent of Scots backing staying in the EU. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday that the Scottish government will immediately engage in talks with the EU to protect Scotland’s position in the bloc. She added steps were being taken regarding a possible second independence referendum.
Under UK legislation, the Parliament has to consider a debate within a year regarding any petition which attracts over 100,000 signatures. But any possible debate would have to take place quickly if current Prime Minister David Cameron is to be present. The leader of the Conservative Party said Friday he would be stepping down in the wake of the vote, as he had forcefully backed the ‘Remain’ campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
Apart from petitioning the Parliament, Brits have been voicing their anger at the referendum results in rallies that took place on Saturday in London and Newcastle.
Hundreds of young Britons gathered near the Houses of Parliament in London, angry that the voting campaign didn’t give them enough information on the consequences of the vote and that the decision to leave could put their future in jeopardy.
Protesters marched through parliament and then on to London Bridge, where eyewitnesses heard them shouting “migrants in, Tories out,” as many pro-EU campaigners claim Brexit would affect migrants by literally shutting the door to the UK for them.
The protest in Newcastle was also held under the slogan ‘Refugees, welcome’, while pro-Brexit campaigners gathered nearby for a counter-rally. Police separated the two crowds and no clashes were registered.