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Parliament takes over e-petitions



New website replaces the old 10 Downing Street version – with a call for a vote of no confidence in the health secretary

The House of Commons has taken on the mantle of managing online petitions with the launch of a new website at petition.parliament. uk and the establishment of a Petitions Committee.

It replaces the old system for filing online petitions through the 10 Downing Street website, effectively providing a direct line from petitioners to Parliament.

The Petitions Committee will be able to look at proposals and decide if they are worth investigating. They can ask the petitioners for more information, refer a petition to another select committee, ask the government for more information, or put forward a petition for a parliamentary debate.

All petitions that receive at least 10,000 signatures will receive some response.

Helen Jones MP, the chair of the committee, said it could lead to debates and investigations that would not otherwise have taken place.

“Our other intention is that people who sign or create petitions are offered the chance to find out more about what Parliament does,” she said. “This should help to keep them informed about debates, reports and research that relates to the issues they care about.”

Collaborative system

The move follows the recommendations of a report, published last December, which identified for a more collaborative system in which anyone signing an e-petition would learn more about how Parliament works. There were also concerns about a system that was jointly run by the government and the House of Commons.

Hours after the site had been launched there were three petitions on display: to introduce a UK National Day, for Parliament to debate a vote of no confidence in health secretary Jeremy Hunt, and for a referendum on electoral reform based on the New Zealand model.

Pictured: Bus crossing Westminster Bridge, by Paul Clarke



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