Tata Steel crisis: Jeremy Corbyn's petition to get David Cameron to recall parliament passes 100,000 signatures - but why is the Labour leader doing it?

Catherine Neilan
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Tata Prepares To Sell British Steel Operation
Aren't petitions meant for...you know... Joe Public? (Source: Getty)

Jeremy Corbyn launched a petition yesterday to get David Cameron to recall parliament over the growing steel crisis.

That's right. Instead of using his existing platform (and mandate) to call the Prime Minister to account, the leader of the opposition is resorting to grassroots tactics to get him to act.

The good news is it's a popular issue: it has already secured more than 100,000 signatures, the vast majority of which come from Wales.

But the bad news? Well, it'll take another day before the government has to respond (a requisite after 10,000 signatures have been received) and now that it's hit the all important 100,000-signature mark, it will be debated in parliament. But it will have to wait until Easter recess is over before that can happen.

Still, at least it has invoked people power. Although in this instance, political power would arguably be more useful to the 40,000 people who might lose their jobs...

Update: Apparently, a Commons spokesman has confirmed that parliament would have to be sitting for any debate to take place.

What's the story so far?

Tata Steel is selling its UK assets because of the "deteriorating financial performance of the UK subsidiary in the last 12 months" - a source has indicated that the Indian steel giant has actually written down the value of its UK operations to "almost nothing".

Cameron has called a meeting - although has stopped short of recalling parliament - to discuss the issue and business secretary Sajid Javid has cut his trip to Australia short in order to attend.

There have been calls for the government to buy Tata out but Cameron ruled that out this morning, although there are indications that the state could intervene quite significantly as the future of the British steel industry hangs in the balance.

It has also prompted a debate around whether it's actually in the national interest to prop up the industry.

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