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Thousands from across Bromley and Bexley sign petition calling for halt to Brexit

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 March 2019

Petition to cancel Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU reaches unprecedented 5,000,000 signatures. Picture: Mike Brooke

Petition to cancel Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU reaches unprecedented 5,000,000 signatures. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Thousands of people from across south-east London have put their names to a petition calling for Brexit to be scrapped.

The campaign, which has five million signatures nationally, urges the government to revoke Article 50 following a huge demonstration through the streets of the capital over the weekend.

South-east London constituents have been backing the petition in their thousands.

In Bromley and Chislehurst, a Conservative area that narrowly voted to remain, 10,421 people have joined the campaign, equating to 10 per cent of the population.

MP Bob Neill said: “Given we had a narrow majority for remain, it’s not totally surprising.

“It’s a decent number of people, but remember we are looking at 25k either side that voted in the referendum. It’s well off half of those who voted remain.

“But it is indicative that there remains very strong feelings on it, there are a lot of people who remain unhappy and who are unhappy with crashing out with no deal.

“I voted for the Prime Minister’s deal before and I continue to – the way I square the narrow majority is to say there is a national mandate for a Brexit but not for a hard Brexit – more of a soft Brexit with close economic ties.

“We can grit our teeth and work with the deal.”

In Erith and Thamesmead, a Labour area that voted to leave, the figures are much lower.

So far 5,257 people have signed the petition, which works out at just over four per cent of constituents.

Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, said: “I have been watching the rising number of people signing the Revoke Article 50 petition and it highlights the difficulty in representing so many different yet strongly held views.

“My constituency voted to leave the EU but as MP you have to represent everyone so my job is to respect the majority wish to leave whilst trying to make sure the 48 per cent plus the approximately 5,000 voters in my constituency now aged 18 who were unable to vote in the referendum are heard.”

Bexley was one of a few London boroughs, along with Barking and Dagenham, Sutton, Havering and Hillingdon, to support Brexit in 2016.

A look at the petition stats:

Greenwich and Woolwich: 18,489

Eltham: 9,579

Erith and Thamesmead: 5,257

Old Bexley and Sidcup: 5,780

Bexleyheath and Crayford: 4,963

Orpington: 7,585

Lewisham and Penge: 19,007

Bromley and Chislehurst: 10,421

Beckenham: 11,457

The prime minister has said she did not believe in halting the deadline after the EU offered a delay plan last week, adding: “I do not believe that we should be revoking Article 50.”

In its official response to the petition, the Department for Exiting the EU said: “It remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50. We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.

“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.

“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.

“This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented.

“17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.

“British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election, where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties - including the opposition - who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

“This Government stands by this commitment.”

The petition will be debated by MPs in the Commons’ secondary chamber Westminster Hall. A Government minister will be required to respond to the petition, but there will be no vote on the action it demands.

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