As the chaos in parliament continues, a petition was launched on the parliamentary petition website to revoke article 50 and stop Brexit from happening.

The petition began receiving signatures on Wednesday evening following Theresa May’s criticism of MPs who refuse to approve her latest Brexit deal. Remainers have reportedly had enough of being ignored, while parliament and the prime minister go back and forth, unable to agree with each other.

Petitions site overloaded

As reported by the BBC, at one point, the petition was receiving 1,500 signatures each minute, causing the parliament’s website to crash Thursday on a number of occasions.

At that stage, there were around 600,000 signatures, but at the time of writing there are 1,096,568 signatures and the number grows by the minute. When the site went down, a message informed users that it was “down for maintenance,” prompting people to try again later.

The Guardian quotes a spokesperson for the House of Commons as saying the petitions site had been experiencing technical difficulties and added they were working at getting it up and running again as soon as possible. The spokesperson said the problem was a “large and sustained load” on the petitions system.

Normally a petition only requires 100,000 to receive a possible debate in parliament. This petition has gone way over the mark and keeps on going. Whether it will be debated is another story, but at least it shows the other side of opinion on Brexit.

Parliamentary petition still overloaded

At the time of writing, some problems are still being experienced with the petition site, including 502 errors.

However, when persevering, the signature does go through. Signers are then asked to wait for an email, with which to confirm their email address. I personally am still waiting for that email, as it is obviously backed up somewhere.

The petition itself

In the petition, signers call on the government to cancel Brexit by revoking article 50 and keeping Britain within the EU.

It states that the UK government keeps claiming that the exit from the EU is exercising "the will of the people." However, signers disagree, saying a stop must be put to this claim by showing the strength of public support with the petition.

Many remainers living elsewhere in the world have been out of the country for more than 15 years. For this reason, likely hundreds of thousands of people were unable to voice their will. As the idea of a people’s vote appears to be out of the question, the petition is the only way forward.

According to the Guardian, many celebrities are in support of the petition, including Jennifer Saunders, Brian Cox and Hugh Grant.

On Thursday morning, Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar, surprisingly also backed the cause. In an interview with Sky News, Picardo had said that should MPs not back the withdrawal agreement on Tuesday, the only way forward was for the UK to take back control of the Brexit process. The only way to go forward is to revoke article 50. Naturally, Gibraltar's position, surrounded by Spain is a big worry for residents.

Tom Forth, who is the head of data at Open Data Institute in Leeds, told the media that the signature distribution on the petition was uneven across the country. He said signatures were very concentrated in a few places. This was especially so in areas that voted to remain in Europe.

No doubt many expats spread across Europe are also signing the petition with haste.

Having checked the latest number of signatures I found the petitions site down again. Anyone wishing to sign the petition must be patient as the website is obviously overloaded.