An anti-Brexit campaigner has described a viral petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked as ‘wildfire’ and accused the prime minister of posing a danger to democracy.
A petition on the government’s own website, calling for the UK to withdraw from the process of exiting the European Union has touched a nerve with the British public.
The ‘Revoke Article 50 and Remain in the EU’ petition has hit one million signatures, after gathering momentum throughout the day.
Mike Galsworthy, founder of campaign group Scientists for EU, said: ‘Things generally reach a critical mass before they go like wildfire.’
He added: ‘There have been petitions before about stopping Brexit or revoking Article 50 but we’re so close to the wire and everything’s such a mess.
‘A real accelerant was Theresa May’s speech. A lot of people completely lost patience with her [and] the strange blame game that we’re in.’
The campaigner, who also founded NHS for a People’s Vote, said the public was frustrated with the Brexit negotiations.
‘Frustration has really built up,’ he said.
‘We don’t want to leave with no deal. The only way to get it off our plate is to take 2016 to 2019 and shove it to one side and get on with other stuff.
‘The answer to the frustration isn’t just to get on with it – it’s to ditch it and move forwards.
‘If people really want to leave they should take two years out of their own lives and come up with something better.’
Galsworthy also criticised the prime minister for putting the blame for delays to Brexit onto MPs, calling her actions a danger to democracy.
He said: ‘It’s not that some people might be getting death threats. There are a lot of MPs getting them on a regular basis.
‘When you have a young family, and your constituents know you and in some areas where you have got a lot of that hostility, it’s extremely intimidating for MPs and dangerous for democracy.
‘It was irresponsible, ill-thought through, and dangerous of Theresa May to blame MPs.’
And the petition, which has repeatedly crashed as the number of signatures has continued to rise, is being targeted by far-right trolls on the website 4chan, claimed Galsworthy.
‘It’s being ‘spooked’ by pro-Brexiteers on 4chan who have decided to launch a denial of service attack,’ he said.
‘It blocks genuine people from being able to sign it and it stuffs it with signatures in bizarre places such as the Vatican City and Antarctica.
‘This is what they did in 2016. The best way to diffuse that tactic is to call it out.’