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Petition to stop Brexit hits 6m signatures

A petition calling on the government to halt the Brexit process and keep Britain in the EU has passed six million signatures.

The Revoke Article 50 petition – which will be debated by MPs on Monday – has the highest number of signatures of any parliamentary e-petition in history.

At one point, nearly 2,000 signatures were being added every minute and it was so popular that the website crashed.

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The petition calls for the UK to revoke Article 50, a letter which was used to trigger Brexit and gave the country two years to negotiate an agreement.

Article 50 can be withdrawn by the UK unilaterally, meaning it does not need EU agreement and will be able to continue as a member on its current terms.

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A rival petition demanding that MPs "honour the referendum result" and leave on 29 March – the original date of the UK's departure – has passed 170,000 signatures.

Prime Minister Theresa May at church near her Maidenhead constituency
Image: Theresa May blamed MPs for the delay to Brexit shortly before 'Revoke Article 50' began trending on Twitter

The previous most popular petition in the Parliament website's history, which reached 4.2 million signatures, was also about Brexit – calling for a second EU referendum should the original winning vote and turnout not reach a certain threshold. However, it was rejected by the government.

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The Revoke Article 50 petition has also surpassed another proposal to stop US President Donald Trump's state visit to the UK, which had 1.9m signatures.

An official response to the Revoke Article 50 petition said: "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."

A surge in support came shortly after Theresa May blamed MPs for the delay to Brexit, following the second defeat of her deal on 20 March.

Following the speech at 10 Downing Street, "Revoke Article 50" was trending on Twitter.

On Friday, the prime minister's deal was defeated for a third time, leaving her unable to break the Brexit deadlock.

Mrs May must now present a way forward within the next two weeks.

Emily Thornberry in the studio on Ridge on Sunday.
May is 'out of control' – Thornberry

Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday that there is "a strong argument to ask people to have the final say" on Brexit and said she would campaign to stay in the EU in the event of a second referendum.

The party's deputy leader Tom Watson told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that a second vote is "the only way we can bring the country back together".

He added it would be "inconceivable" that a second EU referendum would not be in Labour's manifesto should a snap general election be held.

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