A petition to revoke Article 50, the clause triggering the UK’s exit from the EU, went viral on Thursday, causing Parliament’s petitions site to display a notice saying it was “down for maintenance.”
The petitions site was unavailable for several short periods of time after gaining traction overnight on Wednesday.
“We know that the Petitions site is experiencing problems due to the number of people using the site,” said a House of Commons spokesman. “This is a mixture of people signing petitions and refreshing the site to see changes to the number of signatures. We are working to get the problems fixed as soon as possible.”
At the time of writing, the petition to stop Brexit had over 827,000 signatures. According to Parliament’s own rules, a petition will be considered for debate when it reaches 100,000 signatures and the government has three days to respond.
“The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’,” the petition reads. “We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU. A People’s Vote may not happen — so vote now.”
The number of signatures picked up steam following a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday evening, in which she claimed that the Brexit crisis was not her fault, but rather the fault of politicians who refused to vote for the deal she had negotiated with the EU.
As it stands, the UK will either leave the EU on March 29 with May’s deal (which has been voted down three times in Parliament), leave the EU on March 29 with no deal at all (a prospect rejected by a separate vote in Parliament), or it can revoke Article 50 and choose not to leave at all. The Prime Minister is in Brussels on Thursday to ask all 27 EU member states for an extension in the hope that it will buy her more time to pass her deal and get it ratified to ensure a smooth transition.
Spokespeople from the Prime Minister’s office didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.
Petition to revoke Brexit crashes UK Parliament’s website – CNET