A new popular trend is that of e-petitions, which access more people than standard petition would, and often has the websites that hold them meeting the demand for signing them with difficulty. The highest signed e-petition at the moment is one advocating that those who are convicted of taking part in the riots losing benefits.
The petition says, “No taxpayer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them.”
If it gets 100,000 signatures, the e-petition will move on to the backbench business committee of MPs, who may then call a debate on it. It had 78,000 signatures at 5pm.
The petition was submitted by Stephen Mains and has over three times the signatures of its closest rival e-petitions on the “e-petitions website”. The closest one to it was created by Conservative MP Robert Halfon, and calls for cutting the price of petrol. It had 24,000 signatures.
Currently, the Department of Work and Pensions said that at the moment, under the current law, “”any benefit recipient who is convicted of an offence and is imprisoned, will lose their benefit entitlement”.
Nick Clegg has separately discussed rumors that several London councils will try to evict tenants living on the housing benefits they provide. He said, “I think it’s actually right to say if you go out and break the law and you destroy the community in which you live, why should you simply assume that you are going to continue to be supported in living in the way that you are in that community?”
Most councils state in their contracts for those on benefits that if someone causes a disturbance, they will be evicted. That could be left up to councils to interpret.
Any petition on the “e-petitions website” that receives over 100,000 votes will be discussed by the cross-party Commons backbench business committee, who will discuss whether it should be brought to the table.
Sir George Young, leader of the House of Commons has previously said that the threshold for these e-petitions could be raised if too many reach the target of 100,000. He explained the position of the government, saying, “”We do want to monitor it to see if we’ve got the threshold either too high or too low.
“This is a new initiative and we’ve set 100,000 because we think that’s roughly the right target, but if lots and lots of petitions sail through that barrier then we may need to see if it should be higher.
“If none of them are able to reach that target then we may need to lower it.”