Petition demanding early general election passes 100,000 needed for parliament consideration

More than 100,000 people have signed a government petition calling for an immediate general election “to end the chaos of the current government”.

The number of signatures means the threshold needed for the motion to be considered for a debate in parliament has now been passed.

The petition was launched before Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget on Friday, which subsequently prompted the pound to drop to a record low against the dollar, causing a rare intervention from the IMF and the Bank of England.

“The chaos engulfing the UK government is unprecedented,” petition organiser Darrin Charlesworth said.

“War rages in Ukraine; the Northern Ireland Protocol has further damaged our relationship with Europe; recession looms; the UK itself may cease to exist as Scotland seeks independence. This is the greatest set of challenges we have seen in our lifetimes,” the organiser added before calling for the public to decide “who leads us through this turmoil”.

After days of silence, prime minister Liz Truss on Thursday insisted the mini-Budget package is “the right plan”, despite the turmoil in the markets that followed.

She said the package unveiled by the chancellor on Friday has “put this country on a better trajectory for the long-term”, but admitted that higher growth “will not come overnight”.

In a round of interviews, she blamed the global situation – including the war in Ukraine – for the UK’s economic problems.

But on BBC Radio Bristol, presenter James Hanson retorted: “This isn’t just about Putin. Your chancellor on Friday opened up the stable door and spooked the horses so much you can almost see the economy being dragged behind them.”

Short of a call for an early general election, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday urged Ms Truss to recall parliament to address the financial crisis after the Bank of England’s announcement that it was buying government bonds to calm the market.

“The move by the Bank of England is very serious,” Sir Keir said at the Labour conference. “And I think many people will now be extremely worried about their mortgage, about prices going up, and now about their pensions.

“The government has clearly lost control of the economy.”

Liz Truss responded to market turmoil after days of silence (Getty)
Liz Truss responded to market turmoil after days of silence (Getty)

He added: “What the government needs to do now is recall parliament and abandon this budget before any more damage is done.”

The Liberal Democrats also said parliament should be recalled to discuss action on ensuring financial stability. A Lib Dem spokesperson called the government “totally blinded by ideology” amid the market turmoil.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Commons should be recalled to address the economic turmoil.

She said the UK was in the “grip of [a] rapidly deteriorating economic crisis”, calling the emergency intervention by the Bank of England “extraordinary”.

The government responded to the petition by saying: “The UK is a parliamentary democracy and the Conservative Party remains the majority party. The prime minister has pledged to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all people and future generations.”