Updated: Tuesday, 21st November 2017 @ 8:07am

Last chance to sign the e-petition to save e-petitions... and we aren't joking

Last chance to sign the e-petition to save e-petitions... and we aren't joking

By Jessica Phillips

It’s your last chance to sign the online petition to keep online petitions in place!

We aren’t joking.

Among the several hundred e-petitions put forward to various government departments, including the likes of very serious issues such as saving services for deaf children to more strange requests like making Freddo chocolate bars 10p again, we stumbled upon this: (which has so far received only three signatures).

There is even an e-petition to make it simpler to submit e-petitions - if you don't believe us just click here.

This e-petition calls for legislation against the withdrawal of the e-petition system.

It states: “The e-petition is the purist form of democracy and should be protected accordingly. Ensure the concept and principles are protected in the form they exist today and vote to make them part of the British parliamentary system in order to bring British politics in line with the online world of today.”

It’s all very well to dispel it as a non-serious issue but, when you get down to the details,  it’s worth considering just how important it is that we do have the ability to put forward our issues on a large scale online forum.

Are petitions a modern form of people power? An online device to whip up excitement, interest and curiosity?

Are they a genuinely influential tool which, if given enough momentum, can make real change?

Or are they just a platform for people to moan about things without any real chance of making a difference?

Petitioning is a way for the public to present their issues to the government and parliament in the UK.

If a petition gets at least 100,000 signatures then it’s automatically considered for a debate in the House of Commons.

But 100,000 signatures is no mean feat.

Last year, Unison launched an e-petition to keep the Patient Transport Service in the public realm after the current provider North West Ambulance Service lost the bid to keep the contract to private bus company Arriva.

With support from North-West MP’s including Lucy Powell, Andrew Gwynne and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, the petition reached 14,000 signatures in December.

Despite a huge campaign and lobbying to central government this still falls far short of the 100,000 needed to secure a serious debate in the House of Commons.

At the core of this though, is the intrinsic fact that 14,000 people made the effort to go online and have their voice heard.

If people do lose their right to create, and sign e-petitions then there is a real risk of losing that voice.

And we’re certain that’s something everyone would petition against.

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