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News > United Kingdom

UK: 'Stop Brexit' Petition Exceeds 1M Signers, Northern Irish Hint at Withdrawal of Support

  • Anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, March 20, 2019.

    Anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, March 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 March 2019

Thousands of people crashed Parliament's website as the petition reached 1,000,128 signatures.

Former college lecturer Margaret Anne Georgiadou posted a petition on Parliament's website to remain in the European Union (EU) and revoke Article 50, which states that Brexit must be completed by March 29. In a few hours her petition gained more than 1 million supporters, which means that Parliament could consider the citizen’s request.

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"The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’. 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,” Georgiadou's petition states and adds that “Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate.”

In addition to citizen support for the Stop Brexit request, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a joint statement requesting Prime Minister Theresa May find a way to avert Brexit, which they described as "a national emergency."

"Our country is facing a national emergency. Decisions of recent days have caused the risk of no-deal to soar," CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn and TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said, adding that "firms and communities across the U.K. are not ready for this outcome. The shock to our economy would be felt by generations to come," as reported by The Guardian.

British business and union leaders proposed that May publicly recognize the risk of a hard Brexit, accept a long extension, and allow the lawmakers to vote on alternative plans.

Sammy Wilson, the spokesperson of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has been supporting May's conservative government, warned that his party will not endorse the final Brexit Withdrawal Agreement "unless there are legal means by which Northern Ireland will not be treated differently to the rest of the UK," as reported by local media RTE.

Wilson referred thus to the "Brexit backstop," which is an insurance policy whereby the United Kingdom and the Northern Ireland province would remain attached to the European customs union until the U.K. and the EU define what their new trade relationship will be.

According to The Guardian, the backstop could last for years and it means that "there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland." 

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