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E-petitions in United Kingdom

Introduction

In the summer of 2011, the UK Government introduced a new website for registering e-petitions. Issues raised in e-petitions can reach the Backbench Business Committee of the Parliament.

E-petitions are an easy, personal way for you to influence government and Parliament in the UK. You can create an e-petition about anything that the government is responsible for and if it gets at least 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The system introduced by the Government has proved very popular, but Parliament has not yet found time to discuss all of these six topics which has caused frustration and disappointment for those organising and participating in these petitions.

The UK Government considered that the petition with the most signatures in a year could be presented as a Bill that would be voted on by Parliament.

How e-petitions work

  1. Create your e-petition info
  2. It will be checked by a government department info
  3. An e-petition can be open for up to 1 year info
  4. The public can sign it info
  5. If you collect 100,000 signatures, your e-petition could be debated in the House of Commons.

Create your e-petition

Your e-petition must be a request for the government to do something.

You need to choose which government department looks after your issue. For example road issues should be sent to the Department for Transport. There’s a list of government departments to help you choose.

You will need to provide your name, address and email before you can submit your e-petition.

Once you’ve submitted your e-petition, you will receive an email with a link to confirm your email address is correct. Your e-petition cannot be processed until you click on the link.

It will be checked by a government department

Your e-petition will be checked by the government department that looks after your issue. This is to make sure it complies with the Terms & Conditions for creating an e-petition.

The main reasons why your e-petition could be rejected are

there’s already an e-petition on the same issue
it contains confidential, libellous, false or defamatory statements
it contains offensive, joke or nonsense content
the issue is not the responsibility of the government
it’s about honours or appointments
it does not include a request for action

It can take up to 7 days to check your e-petition. You will receive an email that tells you if your e-petition has been accepted or not.

An e-petition can be open for up to 1 year

Usually an e-petition stays open for 12 months. You can choose if you want your e-petition to close sooner than this.

If you set a shorter period, you still need to get 100,000 signatures for your issue to be eligible for debate in the House of Commons.

At the end of the set period, the e-petition closes. No further signatures can be added to it.

The public can sign it

If your e-petition is published, you will be sent a link (URL) to your e-petition page. You can share this with anyone you want to sign your e-petition.

Every e-petition page also has links so you can easily publish it on social networking sites.

Anyone signing your e-petition:

will need to provide their name, address and email
can choose to receive email updates from the government about the e-petition

If you collect 100,000 signatures, your e-petition is eligible to be debated in the House of Commons

The e-petitions House of Commons Backbench Business Committee receives notification from the Leader of the House once an e-petition has 100,000 signatures. The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly when the House of Commons is sitting to hear representations from MPs for debates in backbench time. The Committee can consider any subject for debate, including those raised in e-petitions or national campaigns but an MP must make the case for their consideration.

Backbench Business Committee

The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly on Tuesdays at 3pm to hear representations from MPs for debates in backbench time. This is the first business committee of any kind to be established by the House and gives an opportunity to backbench Members to bring forward debates of their choice.

The committee can consider any subject for debate, including those raised in e-petitions or national campaigns but an MP must make the case for their consideration.

Examples of Backbench debates on other petitions exceeded 100,000 signatories

Petition title/Outcome:

  • National referendum on the European Union/Full day in the Chamber on 24 October 2011 in Backbench time (Mr David Nuttall)
  • Remploy/Half-day in Westminster Hall on 15 December 2011 in Backbench time (Ann Clwyd)
  • Appointment of a Minister for Older People/Half-day in the Chamber on 28 June 2012 in Backbench time (Penny Mordaunt)

See Also

  • Law Reform
  • Public Pressure
  • Lords Spiritual

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This entry about E-petitions has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0) licence, which permits unrestricted use and reproduction, provided the author or authors of the E-petitions entry and the Encyclopedia of Law are in each case credited as the source of the E-petitions entry. Please note this CC BY licence applies to some textual content of E-petitions, and that some images and other textual or non-textual elements may be covered by special copyright arrangements. For guidance on citing E-petitions (giving attribution as required by the CC BY licence), please see below our recommendation of "Cite this Entry".

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(2013, 05). E-petitions lawi.org.uk Retrieved 01, 2021, from https://lawi.org.uk/e-petitions/

05 2013. 01 2021 <https://lawi.org.uk/e-petitions/>

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"E-petitions" lawi.org.uk. 05, 2013. Accesed 01 2021. https://lawi.org.uk/e-petitions/

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: E-petitions
  • Author: International
  • Description: Introduction In the summer of 2011, the UK Government introduced a new website for registering e-petitions. Issues raised [...]

This entry was last updated: May 13, 2013

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