The official UK government and parliament petitions website has been suspended “until further notice” following the death of the Queen.
The decision means people can no longer post new petitions or put their name to existing campaigns.
Visitors trying to sign petitions are met with a large black bar at the top of the page, and a notice which reads:
“Following the sad announcement of the passing of Her late Majesty The Queen, petitioning has been paused until further notice.
“Please check back later for more information.”
The petitions system is a joint enterprise of the UK government and parliament – with petitions over 10,000 signatures getting an official response from the governemnt.
Those which are signed by over 100,000 are eligible to be be debated in parliament.
The petitions are all time limited for six months and must reach these milestones within that time to be eligible.
The Independent has contacted parliamentary authorities for more information on the thinking behind the suspension.
The decision to suspend the website was criticised by some members of the public on social media, with users on Twitter describing the approach as “ludicrous” and “not right”.
Others pointed out that the change would make it harder to register their public anger at prime minister’s Liz Truss’s decision to lift a moratorium on fracking, announced a day before the death of the Monarch.
Parliament is sitting on Friday until late in the evening, and again in a rare Saturday sitting, so that MPs can spend parliamentary time paying tributes to the Queen.
But other parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days as part of an official period of mourning which has also seen sporting and cultural events cancelled across the country.