By early afternoon on Friday, three million UK citizens had signed the petition which was posted on the UK government’s own website that asks if the public want to revoke the Article 50 process and remain in the EU.
UK Tory MEP Charles Tannock told this website, “I have signed this petition for the revocation of Article 50 as it sends a signal to the British government that not all Brits want to 'just get on with it' and leave the EU, even if this means without a deal which has been excluded by a resolution of the UK Parliament.”
“My preferred choice is, of course, to have a long Article 50 extension now in order to allow a final say second Referendum with a Remain option.”
“However, given the refusal by the UK government to allow any long-term extension in order to have a rethink and pivot to a soft Brexit, i.e. Norway solution or a permanent EU Customs Union, and allow a popular vote to confirm this, the country is now faced with a no-deal Brexit if meaningful vote 3 is rejected next week.”
“In this case and faced with no-deal Brexit it now only leaves revocation of Article 50 as a sensible solution,” Tannock added.
The UK’s former Europe Minister, Denis MacShane, said, “In little more than 24 hours 2.9 million Brits have signed a petition urging Article 50 to be revoked. That is 27 times the number required to hold a Commons debate.”
“The nation is rejecting in every way possible Mrs May’s deal which is a disaster for the economy and all Brits living in Europe.”
“I have signed this petition for the revocation of Article 50 as it sends a signal to the British government that not all Brits want to 'just get on with it' and leave the EU” Charles Tannock MEP
The former cabinet minister added, “But she won’t compromise.”
On Friday, Richard Corbett, a leading Labour MEP, also told The Parliament Magazine: “There has never been such a large number of signatories to a petition to the UK Parliament in such a short space of time.”
“It is further evidence that Brexit is probably no longer the will of the people. Better not to proceed with Brexit without checking that in a public vote," he added.
SHORT ARTICLE 50 EXTENSION
Their comments come in the wake of the UK being granted, at Thursday’s EU summit, a short extension to Article 50.
EU 27 leaders yesterday agreed to extend Article 50 until 22 May, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week.
If the Withdrawal Agreement is not voted through by the House of Commons next week, the EU agrees to extend Article 50 until April 12, by which point the UK government is expected to indicate a way forward.
Late on Thursday, European Council President Donald Tusk said in a press conference, “Until [April 12], all options will remain open and the cliff-edge date will be delayed. The UK government will still have a choice between a deal, No Deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50.”
“There has never been such a large number of signatories to a petition to the UK Parliament in such a short space of time. It is further evidence that Brexit is probably no longer the will of the people” Richard Corbett MEP
“The 12th of April is a key date in terms of the UK deciding whether to hold European Parliament elections. If it has not decided to do so by then, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible.”
After the meeting, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement, “What the decision today underlines is the importance of the House of Commons passing a Brexit deal next week so that we can bring an end to the uncertainty and leave in a smooth and orderly manner.”
Speaking at the summit, Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian Greens MEP, predicted that a no-deal Brexit “is still absolutely possible.”
He said he would have favoured giving the UK a one-month extension, saying that, with the European elections in May, this would have been the “most logical” outcome.
“The nation is rejecting in every way possible Mrs May’s deal which is a disaster for the economy and all Brits living in Europe” Denis MacShane, UK’s Former Europe Minister
Further comment earlier in the day came from UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who met Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, to outline his party’s alternative proposals.
Speaking at a short press briefing outside the European Commission, Corbyn told reporters he would table the proposals to the House of Commons early next week, ahead of a possible third vote on the withdrawal agreement.