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Meet the grandmother behind the record-breaking petition to reverse Brexit

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By Chris Harris
Margaret - the grandmother behind the popular petition to reverse Brexit
Margaret - the grandmother behind the popular petition to reverse Brexit

The grandmother behind a record-breaking petition to reverse Brexit has received death threats, she told Euronews.

Margaret from Yorkshire launched a bid on Wednesday evening to collect signatures for the UK to remain in the EU.

She claims the petition moved "very slowly" up to 10,000 signatures, before suddenly gaining traction.

By Monday morning it had amassed 5.3 million names, making it the petition to have attracted the most signatures on the UK parliament’s website.

But the septuagenarian's delight at seeing her campaign take off quickly turned to fear when she received three death threats by phone around midnight on Friday, going into Saturday.

It came after the Daily Mail newspaper had published an article claiming she had threatened to shoot UK Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit.

Margaret said it was a “grossly inaccurate cut-and-paste job”.

“I'm a pensioner in my 70s with a good education, so the idea of me shooting Theresa down is a tad hilarious,” she told Euronews. “You know, visions of me with a zimmer frame struggling to aim a heavy rifle.”

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So, what made her launch the petition in the first place?

“Like most Remainers, I felt my view was of no consequence. We were told to 'suck it up' and May actually said we were the citizens of nowhere. As a result, we felt helpless. Many were saying: ‘But what can I do? I'm just one person’.

“This is a common reaction all the time, not just regarding Brexit. It annoyed me. So I decided to state what I felt was needed in the Brexit situation, rather than merely sit about complaining and getting nowhere.

“I have grandchildren who are reaching an age where they need to feel they can have influence. I don’t want grandchildren who feel helpless. So partly I launched this to show them the possibilities.

“They were very proud, as well as amazed that one could do this. I warned them that usually, they fizzle out, but that at least one had tried. It was an attempted illustration of how democracy can work.”

The petition appeared during another tumultuous week for Brexit that saw UK Prime Minister Theresa May ask Brussels to extend the UK's deadline for leaving the EU.

EU leaders have agreed to put back the UK’s leaving date until May 22, but only if British MPs back the divorce deal May struck with Brussels.

If parliament rejects her deal for a third time next week, the UK will have until April 12 to set out how it plans to end the deadlock.

On Saturday campaigners for a second Brexit referendum held a march in London.