Oh I have lost count of how many times I have clicked on to Dr Kailash Chands e-petition and marvelled at the daily increase (in thousands) of those who have signed. Initially I truly believed that the general public genuinely had a voice and could elicit change, that when the magic total of 100,000 was reached, the subject of the petition would be debated in Parliament.
Then I read the ‘small print’ and realised I was a trusting fool.
The website states “e-petitions is an easy way for you to influence government policy in the UK.” However this is strictly not true as plainly stated in ‘How e-petitions work’ - “If you collect 100,000 signatures, your e-petition COULD be debated in the House of Commons.” Just could be, that’s all.
Any person in the
If a petition reaches 100,000 it does not automatically follow that it will be debated as it may be felt the subject does not merit debate, there is not time available to schedule the debate or no MP wishes to debate it.
With regards to Dr Chands e-petition Labour MP Natascha Engel (chairwoman of the BBC) states in this article in The Huffington Post “the amount of time allocated by the government meant it was increasingly difficult to schedule debates on contentious issues such as NHS reform.”
She also states that she can only schedule debates with cross-party support necessitating Liberal Democrats and/or Tory MPs to back the Drop the Health Bill petition.
So regrettably it would appear that the petition will/might not be debated and that the electorates’ voices will be ignored.
Is this surprising from a government that does not invite critics of its reforms to its meeting?