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Volume 586: debated on Thursday 23 October 2014

Following a resolution of the House on 8 May, my office has been working with the Procedure Committee on a collaborative e-petition system. Details of what the new system will look like and how it will operate are still being discussed and developed. However, I can assure Members that before the end of this Parliament a set of proposals for a new e-petition system will be brought before the House for debate and decision.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. My constituent John Clough has sponsored a petition on the website calling for a stalkers register that so far has attracted over 120,000 signatures. Could well-supported online petitions such as Mr Clough’s hosted on sites other than the official e-petition website play a role in influencing the debates here in Parliament?

Clearly the petition of the hon. Gentleman’s constituent John Clough can indeed play a role in influencing Parliament, in that the hon. Gentleman has a number of opportunities to raise it, such as through Adjournment debates, and the Backbench Business Committee remains an option to raise petitions not just on the e-petition site, but any other site.

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether the Government are planning to change the threshold of 100,000 signatures in relation to e-petitions to ensure that they get more of an airing in the House of Commons?

The Government intend to set up a petitions committee, whose purpose will be to allow a greater airing of petitions and to give advice to people seeking to table petitions. The committee will be able to consider petitions of any size, so the threshold will be completely flexible.

Royal assent

I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that Her Majesty has signified her Royal Assent to the following Measure:

Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure 2014.