Press Release- STOP HS2 PETITION HAS TO START AGAIN FROM SCRATCH.

CAMPAIGNERS wanting to call a halt to the Governments proposal for high speed rail (HS2) have had to start their petition from scratch due to the Government relaunching their official e-petition website.

Prior to the last election, David Cameron promised that under his leadership, any petition getting over 100,000 signatures would receive a parliamentary debate. Over the last year, Stop HS2 has done that and collected the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a parliamentary debate via their online and printed petitions. However, on August 4th the Government relaunched their official online petition service, declaring that petitions administered via their website would be the only ones recognised. The new Stop HS2 petition can be signed via the Stop HS2 website at www.stophs2.org.

Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said:

“Up to the end of the public consultation, actions groups across the country had been holding various events and having stalls where they got people to sign our paper petitions. When the consultation finished, we called in all of these, and while they are still coming in, it quickly became clear that when they were added to the total for the online petition that we would have the 100,000 we needed to get a Parliamentary debate and were preparing to hand them in when Parliament returns in September.”

“Then just as the consultation finished, the Government reintroduced their own online petition service, stating that they would only recognise petitions on this website, meaning we have to start all over again. It’s a real pain as not only will many people believe they have signed, so won’t do it again, but also it is clear from feedback we’ve had at stalls that many supporters don’t have internet access or an email address which is needed to verify signatures. It’s annoying that we’ve got to start all over again after all that work, especially as the website keeps breaking down, but we are confident we will get the numbers in the timeframe.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. For more contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines on 07765 780553.
  2. People can sign the petition against HS2 via the Stop HS2 website; www.stophs2.org

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19 comments to “Press Release- STOP HS2 PETITION HAS TO START AGAIN FROM SCRATCH.”
  1. This is an appallingly undemocratic decision. We followed the rules and now the government has conveniently shifted the goal posts. Will anyone with direct access to the media please make this fact known and become nationally newsworthy. It undermines the whole democratic process of this country and could have a knock on effect for many other petitions. We now need publicity for presenting the paper signatures at No. 10 Downing Street.

  2. Could StopHS2 have got it wrong?

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Diol1/DoItOnline/DG_066327 says
    The e-petitions system isn’t intended to replace the current paper-based system of public petitions in the House of Commons.
    More information about the paper-based Parliamentary Petitions can be found by following the link below.
    http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/have-your-say/petitioning/public-petitions

    The petitioning process is governed by various Standing Orders

    • No, Stop Hs2 are correct. Only e-petitions with 100,000 (online) signatures will be considered for a debate in Parliament, using the new rules.

      Paper petitions can be submitted through the system in your link, and they may – but there is no certainty – result in a Minister making a statement to the House of Commons on the topic. But Philip Hammond has only one standard reply on the subject of HS2…

  3. Further to me email regarding the Speaker’s opinion re the Petition, may I suggest that all the signatures collected ( does anyone know the actual number ?) be photocopied and the copies delivered to the Speaker at the same time as the originals are presented with the concomitant publicity to our Prime Minister’s residence in Downing St.

  4. This is the reply I received on Aug 23rd to my email of June 30th

    Dear Mr Williams,

    Thank you for your recent email to Mr Bercow.

    The Government’s proposals for High Speed 2 will be debated in Parliament – legislative approval is needed in order for the plans to progress. Because of the nature of HS2, it will run through Parliament in the form of a Hybrid Bill in which individuals and public bodies are able to oppose a bill or seek an amendment.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards,

    Tom.

    Tom Tweddle

    Caseworker to Rt Hon John Bercow MP

    Member of Parliament for Buckingham

    Speaker of the House of Commons

    Tel: 020 7219 2007

    Email: thomas.tweddle@parliament.uk

    From: john williams [mailto:XXXXXXXXX
    Sent: 30 June 2011 17:06
    To: BERCOW, John
    Subject: PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES RE HS2

    PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES RE HS2

    Dear Mr Speaker,

    Will the Government proposals regarding HS2 necessarily be debated in the House, or do certain opposition criteria have to be met first?

    I am told that raising a 100,000 petition against the planned HS2 is not necessary because if the consultative document shows overwhelming public opinion against the project it will be scrapped. Should that be correct could you give me some indication of what would be considered ‘overwhelming?’

    John Williams

  5. Typical isn’t it? Give the government what they request and, because they don’t like how it is presented, they move the goalposts. I looked everywhere last time for somewhere to ‘just sign’ a petition but all I could find was a lengthy questionnaire with loaded questions. Also, does having only one e-mail address per household mean that the vote is reduced by at least half or more because they will only accept one e-mail address? Anyway, take this as my signature against this ridiculous idea of a rail link that will ruin the beautiful countryside and the peace and tranquility that brings regardless of whose backyard it is in.

  6. My repeat confirmation of my objection to HS2 if needed.

    I also do not see any good reason for rejecting non web submitted objections

    • Brian, I think you’ll have to go to the website, linked above, to sign …. if you want to make it count officially.

  7. Joe,

    Present it anyway – with as big a fanfare as you can. If the petition was launched under the rules existing at the time I would hope that right would be on our side – certainly worth challenging. I shall write to my MP regarding this and would encourage others to do so. If you go to Downing Street I shall join you, and would expect many other outraged signatories to do likewise. Big Society eh?

    The Consultation response has been denigrated by Hammond, and now the petition, something else not to the pro lobby’s liking has had its goal posts moved.

    By the way, is it true that only one consultation response per household was counted?

    Isn’t democracy great?

    • I totally agree. To sign the government’s on-line petition people need a. access to the Internet and b. a valid email address for the verification process (if it’s working now!). Do people without these not have the right to their say? Go for it, Joe!

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