British nationals living in Italy are qualified to sign parliamentary petition to revoke Article 50.
Only little over 5,500 British nationals living in Italy have signed a petition calling on the government to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.
That is only around 0.1 per cent of the well over 5.5m people who have signed at last count, and is also only a small proportion of the British expat community in Italy, variously estimated at between 40,000 and 75,000.
The poor “turnout” may be because some Brits, used to not being eligible to vote in elections if they have lived outside the UK for 15 years or more, may not realise they are entitled to sign the petition regardless of where they live.
Some observers have expressed surprise that there has not been more support among a community which, by their own or their employers’ choice, have enjoyed the freedom of movement and workplace which EU membership has guaranteed – until now.
Nevertheless, record numbers are continuing to support the most popular petition ever submitted to the parliament website, leaving retired lecturer Margaret Georgiadou, 77, who launched the initiative, “totally amazed”, as well as “shaking like a leaf” after receiving telephone death threats.
And the petition received a boost after the record-breaking “Put it to the people” demonstration (pictured) in London on 23 March, estimated to have seen as many as a million protesters take to the streets. A group of activists from the British Citizens in Italy Facebook group travelled to London to take part.
The petition is open for further signatures until 20 August, but with the political turmoil gathering speed in Britain at present, signatures are urgently required if the initiative is to be in time to affect the debate.
According to the parliament website, parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate, and government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures. But the petition page also notes that neither response has yet been received, despite the record number of signatures.
A different petition was launched on the Parliament website in January by British expat businessman James Langdon-Davies, calling for all British citizens to be allowed to vote, wherever they live, should there be a new referendum on Brexit. Over 300 Brits living in Italy have already signed it.