A plan to give people greater rights when petitioning Parliament has been described by campaigners as a "small step" towards greater democracy.
In a statement today (29 July 2011), the organisation Unlock Democracy welcomed the initiative but emphasised that a great deal needed to be done to move beyond "platitudes and fob offs" from politicians.
Although people have long petitioned Parliament, MPs have not been required to respond to the petitions. Parliament will now have a committee which will examine petitions with over 100,000 signatures, with the possibility of a debate on the topic.
The plan brings Westminster into line with similar practices in the European and Scottish Parliaments.
"This is a marked improvement on the old Number 10 E-petition site," said Peter Facey, director of Unlock Democracy, "Previously e-petitions, no matter how popular, just got a nice email reply from the Prime Minister".
Facey described the move as a "small step to reconnecting citizens with their elected representatives".
He added, "We look forward to seeing how it will develop".