The petition to get David Bowie on the £20 note has reached nearly 35,000 signatures, ahead of petitions asking for a public holiday and a state funeral in memory of the singer

Madeline Ratcliffe
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From a pioneer of political economy to a punk rock pioneer... (Source: Getty)

MPs take note, the latest petition to take the internet by storm is one asking Bank of England governor Mark Carney to put David Bowie on the new £20 note.

The Bank of England is choosing a fresh face to replace economist Adam Smith on its new polymer £20 notes, and people want Bowie to be the new celebrity.

The petition on, which has attracted 34,945 supporters, says:

We can think of no better way to honour David Bowie, who died on 10th January 2016, than by depicting him on the forthcoming £20 note.

His music has sound-tracked important events in the lives of many of us. His visual art and sense of character brought a new combination of music, performance and imagery into mainstream culture. A 2002 poll of '100 Greatest Britons' voted for by the public listed Bowie as number 29 which demonstrates the how celebrated and familiar he is to British people. There is no better person to be on the next £20 note.

The Bank of England is due to announce a successor to Adam Smith, who is currently featured on the reverse of the UK £20, and the public were asked to nominate a non-living visual artist. Bowie's innovation and art included painting as well as his better know music and acting careers. As a non-living visual artist he now meets the Bank of England's criteria for the next person to feature on the £20 note.

The petition was started by Simon Mitchell and in less than a week has reached 35,000 signatures. Bowie died, aged 69, last week after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Sadly, the Bank of England's public consultation closed in July last year, but that may not be the only hurdle for Mitchell's petition.

Petitions on, and similar websites such as 38 degrees, do not guarantee a response from the government after reaching 10,000 signatures – that only applies to the official parliamentary petition website. So it is unlikely that this will be debated by MPs if it reaches a hundred signatures.

The petition committee's terms and conditions also say petitions about honours or appointments will be rejected as there's a different way to nominate someone for an honour.

Mitchell's bid to get Bowie on the £20 note is one of the more successful tributes to the singer: a petition on the official parliament website asking for 11 January to be made a public holiday in his memory has reached a total of 12 signatures.

Most of the Bowie tribute petitions didn't even get that far. Those rejected on the parliament website include petitions asking for a state funeral; calling for roads in Brixton to be renamed; to erect a permanent statue of Bowie on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth; and to make Heros the National Anthem.

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