Protesters descend on London to demand second referendum
Thousands waving EU flags and carrying anti-Brexit banners are streaming into and across the capital to take part in a pro-referendum march that will start at Park Lane near Marble Arch, reports Jennifer Thompson as demonstrators gather in central London.
Protesters calling for a second referendum to give the public a say over Brexit will march to Westminster where the prime minister will present to parliament a Brexit deal designed to clear the way for the UK’s departure from the EU on the scheduled date of October 31.
“A vote on the new deal is the only fair way,” said London resident Alison Lydon, who works for a children’s mental health charity and is marching with several family members, draped in EU flags and Union Jacks, who have joined her from Cheshire.
You can’t take what people said three years ago [in the EU membership referendum of 2016].
“A people’s say on the final deal is the only way to move this forward,” says Kavita Baldwin, an academic from Nottingham who voted Remain.
Her preferred option would be a second referendum, pitting a remain option against the latest deal Brussels has agreed to, but short of that she wants MPs to have more time to scrutinise Boris Johnson’s proposal and expressed concern the process is being rushed today.
Our MPs should have longer than two hours of debate to look at a 500-page document.
The march will begin at noon on Park Lane near Speakers’ Corner, proceed through Mayfair and St James and end in Parliament Square outside the House of Commons.
The People’s Vote campaign estimates hundreds of thousands will be at the march. The all-time record for a UK protest was the 2003 demonstration against the Iraq war, which was claimed to be close to 2m.
“This Brexit crisis has now come down to a simple question about whether we live in a democracy: can we allow Boris Johnson to force no-deal – or another vicious form of Brexit – on our country, without all of us having our voice heard?” the organisers’ website said ahead of the rally.
Speakers will include shadow chancellor John McDonnell and actor Patrick Stewart.
The parliamentary vote is set to be nail-bitingly close. Without a majority the prime minister has to assemble a coalition of MPs to vote for his Brexit deal. Here’s the maths from the FT
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