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Downing Street e-petition site to get new Directgov home

To be ready in time for the silly season ...

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Number 10 Downing Street's defunct e-petition site will soon find a new home in the government's Directgov website, which is currently under review and is likely to be replaced within the next year.

Labour MP Diana Johnson asked the Leader of the House of Commons and Tory MP George Young when British citizens would be be able to use Directgov to submit online petitions to Downing Street.

"The government will move the online petition system from the No 10 website to the DirectGov portal before the summer recess, and I will make a statement to the House," said Young yesterday.

Parliamentarians will be off on their ollibobs from 19 July, so the e-petition site, which has been in stasis since the ConDem Coalition came to power in May last year, will soon have a new home. The new site will thus be ready in time for the annual summer "silly season" news drought, either appropriately or inappropriately depending on your view of government by e-petition.

A Cabinet Office spokesman told us in November 2010 that the government had already "committed" to pushing for a formal debate in Parliament for any petition that draws more than 100,000 signatures from the British public. The petition with the most signatures would then be tabled as a bill.

The government has spent £261,000 plus VAT on a prototype website called alpha.gov.uk that could replace Directgov.

"Alphagov is a working title – if the project is developed, a permanent name for the single online presence for government would be decided," said the Cabinet Office.

It's unclear if the prototype could eventually be morphed into the Directgov brand, or if the government's strategy boutique will be enlisted to come up with a new name. ®

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