Tens of thousands of signatures of a petition for a second EU referendum were removed within hours of a fraud investigation being launched by MPs this morning.
The petition, which has now been backed by over three million signatories was investigated by the cross-party Petitions Committee after it was reported that signatures were being traced to unexpected IP addresses around the world.
In a statement from Chair, Helen Jones, said: “The Government Digital Service are taking action to investigate and, where necessary, remove fraudulent signatures. People adding fraudulent signatures to this petition should know that they undermine the course they pretend to support.”
Just two and half hours later, the committee confirmed that 77,000 signatures had been removed.
Reports emerged that over 39,000 signatures had been traced to the Vatican City, a state with a total population of 800. A further 23,788 were traced to North Korea, a country well-known for its lack of internet connectivity.