A petition calling for the UK to remain in the European Union continued to attract nearly 2,000 signatures a minute on Friday.
As of Friday morning, over 3 million signatories had called for Article 50 – the legal process which allows Britain to leave the bloc – to be revoked entirely.
A move to revoke Article 50 would mean the UK stayed a member of the EU.
Amid intermittent disruption to the petition website, parliament officials said on Twitter that the “rate of signing is the highest the site has ever had to deal with”.
The rate of signing is the highest the site has ever had to deal with and we have had to make some changes to ensure the site remains stable and open for signatures and new petitions. Thanks for bearing with us.— Petitions Committee (@HoCpetitions) March 21, 2019
More than 40,000 added their names in just one hour on Thursday morning, taking the total number of supporters way past the amount needed to secure a parliamentary debate.
“The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’,” the petition stated. “We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU.”
The move would – legally – work, according to experts. Article 50 can be unilaterally revoked at any time until withdrawal, which means that no Brexit remains an option from a legal perspective, academic Oliver Patel wrote in an article for HuffPost UK.
The petition was created by Margaret Anne Georgiadou, a former college lecturer.
Petitions which reach 100,000 signatures are almost always debated, but this is unlikely to occur before the UK’s exit, previously timed for 11pm on 29 March, but now not likely to occur until 12 April at the earliest.
The fast-growing petition gained further momentum following Theresa May’s Downing Street address on Wednesday night.
The prime minister told MPs in the speech that her withdrawal agreement deal with the EU had the support of the public.
“I’m on your side,” she told Britons watching at home.
As support grew still further, Commons Leader and Brexit supporter Andrea Leadsome later raised the stakes for the appeal.
“Should it reach more than 17.4 million respondents then I’m sure there would be a very clear case for taking action,” she said.
Meanwhile, May bid to secure a delay to Brexit at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday night.
The bloc agreed to allow Britain to delay its exit to 22 May if MPs vote through May’s withdrawal vote before Friday.
Otherwise, Britain’s ultimate exit day will be 12 April, the leaders said. May had requested a delay until 30 June. European Council President Donald Tusk said that until 12 April, “all options will remain open and the cliff-edge date will be delayed.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.