The Independent’s petition calling for a general election in Britain following the resignation of Liz Truss has hit 450,000 signatures.
Ms Truss survived less than two months in No 10, consigning herself to the history books as the country’s shortest-serving prime minister.
Her resignation triggered the second Tory Party leadership contest in six weeks, with Rishi Sunak named the new prime minister on Monday 24 October after receiving the backing of 202 Tory MPs.
Mr Sunak’s was the only name on the ballot paper after Commons leader Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the Tory leadership race just minutes before the 2pm deadline on Monday.
His other rival Boris Johnson, who reportedly flew back early from holiday in the Dominican Republic to take a shot at another leadership bid, also withdrew from the race.
Amid calls for an early general election, Mr Sunak has quickly ruled out the possibility as he becomes the second Conservative MP to enter No 10 since the last election in 2019.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon have lent their voices to calls from the public for a national ballot.
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has also echoed the calls for a general election as the Tories install “another out-of-touch prime minister with no plan to repair the damage and without giving the British people a say”.
According to convention, the government is under no obligation to call a general election. But we at The Independent believe Ms Truss had no mandate for her abrupt policy changes when she took charge – except from 81,000 party members.
“Who is leading our country should be decided in a general election, not in the strange bubble of yet another Conservative leadership election,” writes our acting editor David Marley.
“It is time for voters to decide who should govern the country and uphold the democratic principles our governing bodies are built on. For this reason, we are calling for a general election now.
“It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. Let them have their say.”
A YouGov poll published on 24 October showed that 56 per cent of Brits want Mr Sunak to call an early general election.
Just 29 per cent said they wanted the new prime minister to get to work without committing to a national ballot.
Another YouGov poll found that 41 per cent of Brits were disappointed that Mr Sunak is the new prime minister; 38 per cent were pleased.
During his first speech in office, Mr Sunak vowed to fix the “mistakes” that Ms Truss’s government made and to “bring the party and country together”.