Attempts to discredit the 'Revoke Article 50 petition' are pure hypocrisy.
Leavers thought they had ‘gottcha’ moment on Thursday.
Right-wing blog Guido Fawkes spotted that some of the signatures on the Revoke Article 50 petition – which has now had over 2.6 million signatures came from outside the UK:
The ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition Remainers are all getting excited about is being signed by people everywhere from Russia & Saudi Arabia to Papua New Guinea & North Korea…— Hugh Bennett (@HughRBennett) March 21, 2019
I thought they were meant to be against foreign interference in our democracy? pic.twitter.com/YBTIjVKUOX
The only problem is – all the pro-Brexit petitions have many signatories from outside the UK.
More than 23,000 signatures are from outside Great Britain or unaccounted for on the pro-Brexitpetition ‘Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019’, from dozens of countries. It secured a government response and a debate in Parliament.
The foreign signatures range from 7 from Russia, 8 from Saudi Arabia to figures like 592 signatures from Spain (I think they Spaniards probably do want us out after the hash we’ve made of Brexit…):
Over 2,000 signatures are from outside GB or unaccounted for a separate – again pro-Brexit – petition titled: ‘Leave the EU immediately’. That includes 345 in Spain, 299 in France, 124 in Thailand, and 101 each in Germany & Ireland…
Some right-wingers were even calling for bots to flood the e-petitions site with fake signatures on the Revoke Article 50 petition – in an attempt to then discredit it. As Guido Fawkes tried and failed to do:
Pro-Brexit 4Chan user: “We need bots working around the clock [on Article 50 petition] so that half the Vatican has voted for a revocation” pic.twitter.com/1RJW01xf0m— Josiah Mortimer (@josiahmortimer) March 22, 2019
It’s not clear that the far-right of 4Chan followed through with these calls. But the simple fact is, some Brits sign petitions from abroad. Some people use ‘Virtual Private Networks’ to protect their privacy online, skewing the country they appear to come from. And a few non-Brits probably do slip through – the government’s e-petition site is not perfect.
But attacks on the Revoke Article 50 petition are cheap – at least 1.3m people with IP addresses within Great Britain have signed it, as of early Friday. That’s a huge movement for reversing the disastrous direction the government are taking.
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.
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