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04th Oct 2022

Half a million people sign early general election petition

Charlie Herbert

Half a million people sign early general election petition

It’s more than three times the number of people that voted in the Tory leadership election

Half a million people have signed the petition calling for an early general election in the aftermath of Liz Truss’ disastrous start as Prime Minister.

At the time of writing, the online petition has amassed 501,500 signatures, and has gathered huge momentum since Kwasi Kwarteng’s catastrophic mini-budget last month.

In comparison to the half a million who have signed the petition, just 141,725 members voted in the Tory leadership race, of which only 81,326 voted for Liz Truss.

This means more than six times as many people have signed the petition calling for an early general election than voted for Liz Truss to become Prime Minister.

After passing 100,000 signatures on September 29, the petition had to be considered for debate in parliament.

This was confirmed in an update on the campaign’s page, which simply reads: “Parliament will consider this for a debate.”

A debate date has yet to be decided.

The petition reads: “The chaos engulfing the UK government is unprecedented.

“Over 40 ministers resigned leaving departments without leadership during cost of living, energy and climate crises.

“War rages in Ukraine; the Northern Ireland Protocol has further damaged our relationship with Europe; recession looms; the UK itself may cease to exist as Scotland seeks independence.

“This is the greatest set of challenges we have seen in our lifetimes. Let the people decide who leads us through this turmoil.”

It adds: “Call an immediate general election so that the people can decide who should lead us through these unprecedented crises threatening the UK.”

According to UK rules, petitions that reach 10,000 signatures get a response from the government, while those with 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in Parliament.

Unsurprisingly though, the government has given it short shrift, although Tory MP and former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries has also seemingly backed calls for an early general election.

In response to the petition reaching 10,000 signatures, the government said: “The United Kingdom is a Parliamentary democracy, not a Presidential one.

“Following the general election of December 2019, Members of Parliament of the governing party (the Conservative Party) were elected, such that there is a majority in the House of Commons. This remains the case.

“A change in the leader of the governing party does not trigger a general election – this has been the case under governments of successive political colours.

“In her speech of 6 September 2022, the new Prime Minister set out three early priorities: to grow Britain’s economy, deal with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war, and putting the national health service on a firm footing.

“The Prime Minister is determined to address the challenges the country faces and ensure opportunity and prosperity for all people and future generations.”

The Conservative Party is convening in Birmingham this week for their annual conference on the back of widespread discontent with their policies.

A tax-slashing mini-budget from the Chancellor has plunged the markets into turmoil, leading sterling to crash to an all-time low and the Bank of England having to intervene to stop pension funds from facing insolvency.

Liz Truss and the Chancellor have since had to perform an embarrassing U-turn on the 45p income tax cut.

The government was expected to face a huge rebellion from its own MPs on the policy and that it wouldn’t have passed through parliament as a result.

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