The three-hour debate will be held on 17 October and a government minister will have to attend to make the case for allowing the parliamentary term to continue.
However, the protocol for debates on public petitions means that no vote can be taken by MPs to force an early election as a result.
The petition was launched in July, shortly after the annoucnement of Boris Johnson’s resignation, and by the morning of Wednesday this week had topped 575, 000 signatures. Any petition with more than 100,000 names on the parliamentary website must be considered for debate.
The wording of the petition calls for “an immediate general election to end the chaos of the current government”, so that “the people can decide who should lead us through the unprecedented crises threatening the UK”.
Referring to some of the events surrounding Mr Johnson’s removal, it states: “The chaos engulfing the UK government is unprecedented.
“Over 40 ministers resigned leaving departments without leadership during cost of living, energy and climate crises. War rages in Ukraine; the Northern Ireland Protocol has further damaged our relationship with Europe; recession looms; the UK itself may cease to exist as Scotland seeks independence.
“This is the greatest set of challenges we have seen in our lifetimes. Let the people decide who leads us through this turmoil.”
Despite Mr Johnson’s replacement by Liz Truss following a ballot of around 175,000 Conservative Party members, the petition has not been withdrawn, and many signatures have been added since the new PM’s arrival in power on 6 September.
In a response published on 20 September, the government said: “The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy, not a presidential one.
“Following the general election of December 2019, Members of Parliament of the governing party (the Conservative Party) were elected, such that there is a majority in the House of Commons.
“This remains the case. A change in the leader of the governing party does not trigger a general election – this has been the case under governments of successive political colours.”
It added: “In her speech of 6 September 2022, the new prime minister set out three early priorities: to grow Britain’s economy, deal with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war, and putting the national health service on a firm footing.
“The prime minister is determined to address the challenges the country faces and ensure opportunity and prosperity for all people and future generations.
The response pointed out that under the law, an election can be called by the incumbent prime minister at a time of his or her choosing, so long as parliament is dissolved within five years of its first meeting following the previous election.
The latest date for dissolution is in December 2024, meaning an election could be delayed as late as January 2025. However most Westminster-watchers expect it to be held in the spring or autumn of 2024.