In the latest of several dramatic plot twists concerning the EU referendum, it appears the person who set up the petition calling for a second referendum, which has amassed more than 3 million signatures, was actually a Leave campaigner who thought Remain was on course to win.
William Oliver Healey states on his Facebook page that he is standing for the right-wing nationalist political party the English Democrats in Leicestershire. He set up the petition on May 25 when he assumed Remain was on course to clinch the vote, according to his Facebook page.
Healey, whose name matches that on the petition, writes: “Due to the result, the petition has been hijacked by the remain campaign. Admittedly, my actions were premature however, my intentions were as stated above. THERE WAS NO GUARANTEE OF A LEAVE VICTORY AT THAT TIME!!!”
Prior to this confession, Healey had posted several times on Facebook in the past few weeks in support of the Leave campaign.
The petition itself reads: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.”
The UK narrowly voted to leave the European Union on Thursday. 51.9% voted to leave, while 48.1% voted to remain. The turnout was 72%.
At the time of writing, Healey’s petition had 3.1 million signatures. Any petition reaching more than 100,000 signatures has to be debated in parliament, although that doesn’t mean that parliament has to act on it.
Also, the raw data from the petition shows that many of those people signing are not from the UK, and probably not even “people” at all, but rather bots, given the amount of signatures apparently coming from places such as the Vatican City and North Korea.
Helen Jones, chair of the petitions committee, released a statement on Sunday saying The Government Digital Service is investigating the petition and, where necessary, removing fraudulent signatures, The Huffington Post reported. The committee meets on Tuesday afternoon and will discuss the petition then.
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