An e-petition calling for all convicted London rioters to lose their benefits has reached more than 100,000 signatures and is the first to be referred to the Backbench Business Committee for consideration for debate by MPs.
The e-petition website, launched on Aug. 4, has seen few e-petitions get close to the threshold 100,000 signatures to be considered for discussion in Parliament.
However, in just 48 hours, an e-petition entitled "Convicted London rioters should loose [sic] all benefits" soared beyond the 100,000 mark and continues to gain support, reaching 120,000 signatures at the time this article was published. Its popularity is thought to be the cause of the e-petition website repeatedly crashing yesterday, preventing access to the site.
The e-petition reads: "Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them."
The e-petition lists the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) as the ministerial department responsible for the demand.
A DWP spokesperson said: "Any benefit recipient who is convicted of a criminal offence and is imprisoned will lose their benefit entitlement. We are currently looking at whether benefit sanctions can also be imposed for those who receive non-custodial sentences."
The e-petition website is monitored by the Leader of the House of Commons. A spokesperson for the Leader said: "Under the procedures previously announced, it will be for the Committee to decide whether an e-petition should be proposed for debate after the Commons returns from the summer recess.
"There is a minimum of 35 sitting days available in the current parliamentary calendar for the Committee to bring forward non-Governmental business for debate. We have said that, due to the longer-than-usual current session which runs until next spring, there will be additional time available for backbench debates."
It has been confirmed that Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons, has written formally to Natascha Engel, chair of the Backbench Business Committee and to Dame Ann Begg, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
Many MP's have called for strong measure to be brought against those rioters that are convicted for their actions.
Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, has requested plans be drawn up to remove benefits from those found guilty of violent disorder.
Grant Shapps, Housing Minister, thinks that those that break the law outside of their local community should also be punished.
"Regular people would say if you've gone out and you have caused such devastation to other peoples communities, there is no reason why you should continue to get all the benefits, the privileges from the state that you currently enjoy," said Shapps.