Petitioning Parliament

UK citizens, & those who are resident in the UK, can petition parliament, and you have probably signed these petitions already. You probably know that if a petition reaches 10,000 signatures, it will receive a government response, and if you get to 100,000 signatures, you might get a debate in the House.

Starting a petition is fairly straightforward.

To begin a petition, you use this form. Give a brief explanation of what your petition is about.

An AI engine is used to check if there are already similar petitions.

The next form is the most important one. Once the petition is submitted you cannot alter or withdraw your petition. Note the character limits.

Think very carefully about what you fill in.

The “headline” must be short but also something that others will easily understand. Avoid jargon, abbreviations or acronyms. The second box is vital – make sure it is something that the law could do, and be specific. The third box is more about persuading signatories, so include evidence and be clear on your reasoning.

There is no spell checker on the form, so you might prefer to draft it in a word document and paste it in.

Also, your petition will be checked by humans at a later stage. The guidance gives you the standards, but experience suggests that petitions that might be interpreted as trans-hostile are very unlikely to be published, so draft it carefully.

Talk to others as you do it – you will need five “sponsors” anyway, so it is a good chance to line them up. You will need their email addresses, ideally.

You then preview the petition. Click “more details” to see the full thing.

Once you click “this looks good” you will need to provide information about you. Your name will be published, but not other details.

be given a link to share. Do NOT share this widely on social media – this link is only the link to get your five sponsors to back you. Any further signatures will be wasted. Your sponsors will need to provide their email addresses to Parliament, and they will need to confirm the link too.

When you have your five sponsors signed up, the petition will be checked by the Petitions Team. This takes anything from 2 days to 2 weeks. If it is rejected, you can always try again.

If not – well done, and get publicising as much as you can! Petitions run for six months.

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