Government rejects 5 million-signature petition calling for halt to Brexit

The Government has rejected a petition calling for Brexit to be stopped, which has gathered more than 5.75 million signatures.

The petition is due to be debated by MPs on April 1, after smashing the 100,000 threshold for consideration and becoming the best-supported proposal in the history of the House of Commons and Government's e-petitions website.

41 PHOTOS
'One million' march in anti-Brexit protest
See Gallery
'One million' march in anti-Brexit protest
Delia Smith joins with anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Richard Bacon and Mariella Frostrup address anti-Brexit campaigners in Parliament Square as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
NOTE LANGUAGE ON PLACARDS Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Protesters take part in the Put It To The People March on Whitehall on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to take part in the Put It To The People March, organised by the People’s Vote campaign, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, calling for a public vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Protesters take part in the Put It To The People March on Whitehall on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to take part in the Put It To The People March, organised by the People’s Vote campaign, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, calling for a public vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People hold up a heart-shaped European flag placard as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators carry a placard depicting Theresa May, U.K prime minister, and European Union flags as they march during the anti-Brexit People's Vote rally in London, U.K., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The campaign to give U.K. citizens a vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, twice defeated by Parliament, holds the rally after European Union leaders gave May an extra two weeks to work out what to do. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators carry placards and European Union flags as they march during the anti-Brexit People's Vote rally in London, U.K., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The campaign to give U.K. citizens a vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, twice defeated by Parliament, holds the rally after European Union leaders gave May an extra two weeks to work out what to do. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators carry placards and banners as they march during the anti-Brexit People's Vote rally in London, U.K., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The campaign to give U.K. citizens a vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, twice defeated by Parliament, holds the rally after European Union leaders gave May an extra two weeks to work out what to do. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of London during the People’s Vote March on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Organised by the People’s Vote Campaign the rally brought thousands of people from all over the country to the march through the streets with campaigners calling for the final Brexit deal to be put to the people. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A puppet head of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May spearing a representation of the British Economy is taken on a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they pass Trafalgar Square on a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman holds up a placard calling for 'remain' as she attends a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE LANGUAGE ON SIGNS. Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable MP (C) takes part in the Put It To The People March on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to take part in the Put It To The People March, organised by the People’s Vote campaign, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, calling for a public vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A general view of Anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. Picture credit should read: Matt Crossick/EMPICS
A general view of Anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. Picture credit should read: Matt Crossick/EMPICS
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE LANGUAGE ON SIGNS. Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London.
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London.
EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
An EU supporter with the EU flag painted on her face, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participates in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Rejecting the oft-repeated claim that EU withdrawal is the "will of the people", it calls for the revocation of the Article 50 letter informing the European Council of the UK's intention to leave.

The Article 50 letter can be withdrawn by the UK unilaterally, without the need for EU agreement, leaving Britain free to continue as a member on its current terms.

But in its official response to the petition, the Department for Exiting the EU said: "It remains the Government's firm policy not to revoke Article 50. We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.

"Revoking Article 50, and thereby remaining in the European Union, would undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in Government.

"The Government acknowledges the considerable number of people who have signed this petition. However, close to three-quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected.

"This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented.

"17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.

"British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election, where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties – including the opposition – who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

"This Government stands by this commitment.

"Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy.

"As the Prime Minister has said, failing to deliver Brexit would cause 'potentially irreparable damage to public trust', and it is imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them."

The petition will be debated by MPs in the Commons' secondary chamber Westminster Hall. A Government minister will be required to respond to the petition, but there will be no vote on the action it demands.

MPs will also debate a petition calling for a second EU referendum, which has received more than 120,000 signatures, and another – signed by more than 140,000 – demanding that the UK leave with or without a deal on March 29.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS