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BREXIT

Cancel Brexit petition heads towards SIX MILLION signatures

A petition set up last week that calls for the British government to cancel Brexit and stay in the EU by revoking Article 50 had garnered almost six million signatures on Wednesday.

Cancel Brexit petition heads towards SIX MILLION signatures
Photo: AFP

The online petition was set up on the parliament site shortly after Theresa May addressed the British public in a TV appearance in which she blamed MPs for the Brexit chaos.

By the next day it had rocketed past the one million signature mark and has kept on rising.

By Wednesday morning, thousands of people were still signing up to show their disapproval of the Prime Minister and their desire to remain part of the EU.

The total was at 5.83 million by 10am and was expected to pass the six million mark on Wednesday or Thursday.

According to officials at the House of Commons the petition had the highest rate of sign ups ever.

The petition was shared widely on British Facebook groups across the EU and thousands have signed from France, Germany and Spain.

The petition titled: 'Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU' reads: “The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is 'the will of the people'. We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU. A People's Vote may not happen – so vote now.”

While the Conservative government has said it will not be cancelling Brexit or revoking Article 50 in order to respect the result of the 2016 referendum, parliament will hold a debate on the issue on Monday.

“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,” said the official statement.

The petition was started by Margaret Georgiadou, who says she has received death threats as a result.

Detractors claim it is full of false signatures, however officials have said that fake ones are being removed unless they can be verified via email.

British PM Theresa May was still holding out that her deal with the EU would get the backing of the British parliament in a third vote, but MPs were also set to cast votes on Wednesday on various other options.

Britain is set to leave the EU on April 12th unless May's deal is passed or the government can come up with a plan B to convince Brussels to accept a longer delay.

You can sign the petition here.

 

Member comments

  1. How many voted Leave? Oh, that’s right – 17,410,742.

    Yawn.

    Let’s not be Europeans – let’s respect a democratic vote. Brexit ASAP!!!

  2. If their servers were able to handle the traffic, there would likely be more than double, triple what we have now.

  3. The vote in 2016 was tainted by false information and in was margina. So I happily sign the petition. But somequestions: email checks. Can a husband and wife count as two on the same email address? Can people without email sign the petition if so how?

  4. Cut off in midstream. We must get to 8.5 million half the leave vote. Get to 10 million next.Then get past 17 million. It is possible ! Contact all your friends and encourage them to vote.Don’t let the cheats have their way.

  5. The true “undermining of democracy” was the lies, deceit and sheer BS that was used to get peple to vote ‘Leave’ in the referendum, and most of that from right-wing politicians!
    Now only the despots and desperate Brexiters repeat the ‘will-o-the-people’ mantra without any hint of reality on how this will adversely affect millions of people, now and in the future, not to mention the UK economy.

  6. “Lies and deceit”, right. And Hillary Clinton lost because Donald Trump colluded with Russia.

    Democracy means there are losers – that’s what Remainers are. Accept it, or just admit you are anti-democratic.

  7. WTH does Tr–p have to do with this? You MUST be desperate, Mrs. May.
    Your continued insults aimed at “Remainers” really helps your cause.

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BREXIT

Is new court ruling the end for Britons fighting to remain EU citizens?

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed on Thursday that Brexit really does mean that Britons are no longer EU citizens. Claudia Delpero looks at whether there's any other way they can keep their rights.

Is new court ruling the end for Britons fighting to remain EU citizens?

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed on Thursday that Britons lost EU citizenship when the UK left the EU, on 1st February 2020. 

It is the first time the EU’s top court has rules on the matter, after a number of legal cases challenged this specific Brexit outcome. The decision also sets a precedent should other countries decide to leave the bloc in the future. 

What has the EU Court decided?

The Court of Justice decided on a case brought by a British woman living in France.

Before Brexit, she could vote and stand as a candidate in her town of residence, Thoux. But after the UK withdrawal from the EU, she was removed from the electoral roll and excluded from the municipal elections that took place in March 2020, during the transition period.  

As the mayor refused her appeal to restore the registration, she took the case to the regional court in Auch, which agreed to request an interpretation of the rules to the EU top court. 

Julien Fouchet, the barrister supporting her and several other cases on the EU citizenship of British nationals, argued that the loss of EU citizenship and voting rights was disproportionate. It would also be contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, given that the woman also lost her voting rights in the UK, having lived abroad for more than 15 years.

Alice Bouillez, who has lived in France since 1984 and is married to a French national, could have applied for French citizenship, but did not do so because she said “this was not necessary” before Brexit and, as a former UK official, she had taken an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

On Thursday the Court of Justice announced the decision about her case. The court ruled that the “possession of the nationality of a member state is an essential condition for a person to be able to acquire and retain the status of citizen of the Union and to benefit fully from the rights attaching to that status.”

The court therefore confirmed that British nationals automatically lost their EU citizenship as a result of Brexit and, as a consequence, Britons also lost their voting and electoral rights in municipal elections in the EU (unless the country where they live set different rules). 

What is EU citizenship?

EU citizenship was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992, when borders were opening and the bloc was integrating economically after the end of the Cold War. 

Under the treaty, every person holding the nationality of an EU member state is a citizen of the Union. EU citizenship is additional and does not replace nationality, the treaty specifies. But this creates the first form of a transnational citizenship that grants rights across borders.

EU citizens have the right to access each other’s territory, job market and services under the principle of non-discrimination. If they are economically active, they have the right to reside in other EU states and be joined by family members, access healthcare at the same conditions of nationals (for emergency treatment also when travelling temporarily), obtain social security benefits and see their professional qualifications recognised.

Beyond free movement, at the core of EU citizenship there are also political rights, such as participating in the European Parliament election, voting and standing as candidates in municipal elections when living in other EU countries, receiving consular protection from other EU states outside the EU, and taking part in European Citizens’ Initiatives asking to the EU to legislate on certain matters. 

Which EU citizenship rights have Britons lost with Brexit? 

For British citizens who were living in the EU before Brexit, the Withdrawal Agreement protects some of these rights. Britons covered by deal have their residence, access to work and education, healthcare, social security and qualifications secured, but only in the country where they were living before Brexit.

But the right to free movement in other EU states, consular protection in third countries, and the political rights attached to EU citizenship were lost, the Court confirmed. 

For British citizens in the UK, the trade and cooperation agreement has preserved some social security rights and, in theory, the possibility to have professional qualifications recognized when moving to an EU country. These provisions however lack details and may take a long time before they work in practice. 

As the “European Union” no longer features on British passports, the possibility to access EU lanes at airports to skip passport control queues has also vanished. 

“The loss of those treasured rights has been clear to those of us living in the EU from the early days of Brexit. But for Brits in the UK, the realities of life outside the EU, and the consequences of Brexit, are only just dawning. Long queues at the borders, roaming charges, obstacles to working abroad, etc. are the new reality,” said Sue Wilson, Chair of the group Remain in Spain. 

While she said the court’s decision was “no real surprise,” she argued that “this is not the Brexit the public were promised, or that the majority voted for.”

Can British citizens get some of these rights back?

Julien Fouchet was disappointed at the Court decision and promised to continue the legal fight, bringing the case at the European Court of Human Rights (which is not an EU institution). 

Other two cases on the matter of EU citizenship for British nationals are still pending at the Court of Justice of the EU. One of them aims to determine whether EU citizenship is a “fundamental status” that cannot be removed but Thursday’s decision could have already provided the answer.

Another option to reconsider some of the rights is the renegotiation of EU-UK trade agreement, when it will be reviewed in 2025. 

Meanwhile, the EU is revising the rules for non-EU citizens living in EU countries on a long-term basis, making it easier to move across borders. 

Applying for citizenship is so far the only option to regain voting rights, although not all EU countries allow dual nationality. 

Sue Wilson, who has long campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, said: “There is only one way to restore the loss of our rights, and that’s to rejoin the single market, rejoin the customs union, and eventually, rejoin the European Union… Until that day, we will continue to be second class citizens whose rights have been diminished for the sake of an ideology.”

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