Digital Transformation

DirectGov replaces Downing Street’s online petition page

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By The Drum Team | Staff Writer

July 29, 2011 | 3 min read

A new e-petition website for Downing Street has been set up to give the public a ‘megaphone’.

The replacement of the defunct Downing Street online petition website was announced today, with the website now being under the banner of DirectGov as opposed to under Downing Street.

Any petition which gains over 100,000 signatures will trigger consideration for debate in Parliament, with the Commons backbench business committee deciding the qualifying petitions should be brought up during one of the 35 days allocated each session for non-governmental business.

Commons Leader Sir George Young described it as a “step towards a more accessible and transparent” Parliament.

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Petition that are libellous, offensive, duplicates existing open petitions or not relating to government will be rejected. Moderators will also block any petitions that concern honours and appointments.

Sir George said: “In recent weeks, Parliament has been at the centre of public interest, by leading the debate on phone hacking allegations.

“But this shouldn't mean that Parliament becomes complacent. There's much more that we can do to build confidence in the work of the House of Commons and we should continue to find new ways of encouraging people to engage.

“The public already have many opportunities to make their voices heard in Parliament, and this new system of e-petitions could give them a megaphone.

“Of course, parliamentary time is not unlimited and we want the best e-petitions to be given airtime - so we will monitor the site closely over the coming months to assess whether the 100,000 figure is an appropriate target.”

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