LONDON (AFP) – More than a million people have signed a petition calling for a second referendum, after “Leave” voters won a shock victory to pull Britain out of the European Union, an official website showed Saturday.
The website of the parliamentary petition at one point crashed due to the surge of people adding their names to the call for another nationwide poll following Thursday s historic vote.
“We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based (on) a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum,” says the petition.
The Leave camp won the support of 51.9 percent of voters, against 48.1 percent in favour of remaining in the 60-year-old European bloc. Turnout for Thursday s referendum was 72.2 percent.
The result revealed stark divisions between young and old, north and south, cities and rural areas, and university-educated people and those with fewer qualifications.
By 1030 GMT on Saturday some 1,130,000 people had signed the petition on the official government and parliament website — more than 10 times the 100,000 signatures required for a proposal to be discussed in the House of Commons, the lower house of parliament.
A map of the petition signatures showed that most came from England s major cities, topped by London where there is a separate petition calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare the capital independent from the United Kingdom, and apply to join the EU.
On Friday, a House of Commons spokeswoman said the website had been taken out of action temporarily because of “exceptionally high volumes of simultaneous users on a single petition, significantly higher than on any previous occasion”.
The parliament s Petitions Committee, which considers whether such submissions should be raised in the House, is to hold its next meeting on Tuesday.
The idea of a second referendum was raised during campaigning for the referendum.
UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage said last month that there could be unstoppable demand for a second poll if the Remain camp won by a narrow margin.
“In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way,” he told the Daily Mirrornewspaper
Speaking to the BBC he added: “If we were to lose narrowly, there d be a large section, particularly in the Conservative Party, who d feel the Prime Minister is not playing fair.”
“There would be a resentment that would build up if that was to be the result,” he added.
But Leave figurehead Boris Johnson downplayed the idea of a new vote, after Farage s comments.
“I m absolutely clear, a referendum is a referendum. It is a once in a generation, once in a lifetime opportunity and the result determines the outcome,” he said.
“If we vote to stay, we stay, and that s it. If we vote to leave, we vote to leave, that s it. You can t have neverendums, you have referendums,” he added.