Online petitions to MPs about the coronavirus crisis have received more than three million signatures.
Labour MP Catherine McKinnell, who chairs the Petitions Committee, said they had highlighted issues that “may have been overlooked” by politicians.
Popular petitions have raised issues such as sick pay for the self-employed, pay rises for NHS workers and tuition fee refunds for students.
Ms McKinnell said the number of online submissions was “unprecedented”.
In a letter to other committee chairs, she said the issues raised had fed into letters MPs had written to ministers on their handling of the pandemic.
However she added it is not possible to schedule debates on petitions in Parliament because the normal venue, Westminster Hall, is closed.
Normally petitions are considered for a debate in Parliament if they gain 100,000 names. Those with 10,000 signatures also receive a government response.
Parliament’s Petitions Committee website reopened in early March after closing down because of the general election in December last year.
In the weeks afterwards, the pandemic has worsened in the UK and the government has introduced social distancing and curbs to normal life to slow the spread of the virus.
The economic impact has led to a surge in applications for welfare benefits, while so far 2.8m have been put on the government’s furlough scheme.
The most popular online petition, with 696,682 signatures, calls on the government to extend statutory sick pay to people who are self-employed.
A breakdown by parliamentary constituency reveals it was most likely to be signed by voters in the south of England, notably London, Bristol and Brighton.
The two next most popular petitions, launched on 6 and 12 March, called for ministers to consider closing schools and implement a “lockdown” – both measures which have since been imposed in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
A petition calling for students affected by university closures to have tuition fees reimbursed has garnered 330,859 signatures – perhaps unsurprisingly, it received much greater levels of support in cities and university towns compared to rural constituencies.
Elsewhere 150,829 signed a petition calling for greater government support of the events industry, and 143,925 signed one asking for paid maternity leave to be extended for three months.
The maternity leave petition received the strongest level of support in south Wales and west-central Scotland, with lower levels of support in London and Birmingham.
A digital survey sent by the committee to those who signed a coronavirus-related petition has so far received over 30,000 responses.
In the last Parliament, 456 petitions received a response from the government and 74 petitions were debated in the House of Commons.
Since the website launched in 2015, more than 23 million people have used the site.