Brexit petitions, which have between them attracted more than 650,000 signatures from members of the public, are to be debated in Parliament.
MPs will consider seven petitions from all sides of the Brexit battle in a single debate on January 14, after the Commons Petitions Committee decided to group them together in order to ensure they were not “overtaken by events”.
Three of the petitions, with a total of more than 390,000 signatures, call for a no-deal Brexit. Two demanding a second referendum have been signed by over 130,000 people and two stating that the EU withdrawal process should be halted have also attracted more than 130,000.
The debate, in the secondary Commons chamber Westminster Hall, will give MPs an opportunity to question a Government minister, but cannot result in a change in the law.
The largest of the petitions, with more than 319,000 backers, warns that the UK is wasting “billions” by trying to conduct a hurried negotiation within the short two-year timeframe offered by the Article 50 process, and should instead leave without a deal in March in order to gain “time to negotiate more efficiently”.
The petition states: “The EU will be more eager to accept a deal on our terms having lost a major partner.”
In response, the Government has said: “The deal that we have reached with the EU is the right one for the United Kingdom. Leaving without a deal would risk uncertainty for the economy, for business and for citizens.”
The largest petition in support of a second referendum has gathered more than 128,000 signatures, and calls for the public to be allowed to vote on whether to accept Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement or remain in the EU.
The Government has responded: “A clear majority of the electorate voted to leave the European Union. We must respect both the will of the British people, and the democratic process which delivered this result.”
The biggest Stop Brexit petition, with over 108,000 signatures, says that the 2016 EU referendum was “advisory, not conclusive” and that its result has now been proven to be “illegally biased” and should be treated as “null and void”.
The Government’s response to this petition was: “The people of the United Kingdom gave a clear instruction to leave the European Union. The Government respects that decision.”
The Petitions Committee said in a statement: “The committee has decided to have a single debate on three petitions relating to leaving the EU that had reached 100,000 signatures because it wanted to ensure they were debated as soon as possible, so they would be less likely to be overtaken by events.
“The Committee has also grouped a number of smaller petitions for debate that were very similar to those that had received 100,000 signatures.”