Senior travel leaders have publicly backed a petition calling for Article 50, the legal mechanism allowing the UK to leave the European Union, to be revoked and for the UK to remain in the union.
The petition achieved more than one million signatures in the 24 hours following Theresa May’s address to the nation on Wednesday night (March 20), during which she confirmed she had approached the EU to request a delay to Britain’s current March 29 exit date.
During her speech, May said the nation was “tired” of the bickering over Brexit and said she was on the public’s side, laying the blame for the delay with MPs and Parliament.
Ministers last week voted down May’s withdrawal agreement for a second time, and against leaving the EU without a deal, before voting en masse in favour of the prime minister approaching EU leaders over an extension to Article 50.
May wrote to president of the European Council Donald Tusk on Wednesday (March 20) to formally request the delay.
Her address though sparked a fresh wave of frustration, including a new petition calling for the UK to remain in the EU.
Derek Jones, chief executive of Kuoni parent Der Touristik UK, tweeted: “So Theresa May knows what we think...? Show her she doesn’t by signing this petition: Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.”
He later added: “Theresa May tells the British public ‘I’m on your side’; 24 hours later, a million people have signed a petition pointing out that she’s not.”
Giles Hawke, chief executive of Cosmos, shared a link to the petition on Twitter, adding: “I make no excuse for tweeting and sharing #antibrexit comments and tweets. This is a massive issue for our country, our children and our future. If you don’t like it, please feel free to unfollow! #RevokeArticle50.”
The petition is currently the largest active poll on the government’s petitions website, and will run for a further six months until August 20. It is also the fastest growing petition in the history of the petitions portal.
Petitions achieving more than 10,000 signatures must be addressed by the government, and those achieving more than 100,000 must be debated in Parliament.
A petition calling for the UK to leave the EU on March 29 without a deal currently has around 373,000 signatures and is due to run until April 17.
The government responded to it on December 14 last year, stating: “The deal that we have reached with the EU is the right one for the United Kingdom. Leaving without a deal would risk uncertainty for the economy, for business and for citizens.”