Leaving the European Union — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:52 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Labour, Newcastle upon Tyne North 4:52 pm, 1st April 2019

May I clarify matters for the right hon. Gentleman, because he does not seem to understand the nature of a petition, which is a very long-established process in Parliament and a way for our constituents to express their view on matters, and for many years—probably since it began—Parliament has processed petitions and tabled them on behalf of MPs’ constituents? The nature of our modern democracy is that the petitions process has gone online and it was indeed the former Prime Minister who created the Government’s online petitions system in 2010. Since then, it has grown in popularity and use.

As a member of the Petitions Committee, I know that it processes a range of petitions on any subject that Members can imagine, but no petition has received the number of signatures that this petition has, and the right hon. Gentleman seems somewhat irked by that. However, a petition does not replace our normal democratic processes. It is simply a reflection of the level of interest in this issue and the strength of feeling among the public, for which, as representatives of our constituents, we ought to be very grateful, as they have the means to make their voices heard—and this petition is a roar.