The biggest protest of UK policy since 2003
People from across the UK – an estimated 700,000 – marched on parliament yesterday, calling for a People’s Vote on any final Brexit deal. The protest, which was the biggest since the anti-Iraq war protest 15 years ago, was led by young voters, and had support from celebrity speakers and a number of MPs who support a new vote despite Theresa May ruling the idea out.
Speaking at the march, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan criticised a common pro-Brexit opposition to a second vote, saying: “What's really important is that those that say that a public vote is undemocratic, is unpatriotic, realise that in fact, the exact opposite is the truth.”
“What could be more democratic, what could be more British, than trusting the judgement of the British people?”
From the opposite camp, Sir Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister and de facto deputy to Jeremy Hunt (which, regardless of your political outlook, must be a pretty terrible job right now), said this was, “the biggest ‘get real’ moment of his political life”.
Tellingly, he also admitted that Conservative MPs and ministers need to rise above their ideological divides, saying: “The fate of our country for decades will depend on this. It is as if we are driving towards a cliff, but won’t face up to the reality that the road we have chosen will take us over the edge.”
Unfortunately, there still seems to be a lot of infighting in the Tory government; pro-Brexit members say they will vote against any Brexit deal that doesn’t guarantee a clean break from the EU, while there are still concerns about the Irish border issue. The overwhelming support of yesterday’s march, though, does suggest a further weakening of May’s leadership, which might herald change in the near future.