London mayor calls for 2nd vote on Brexit, claims ‘young people were not heard’
London Mayor Sadiq Khan led a huge protest on the streets of the British capital on Saturday, as 670,000 anti-Brexit protestors marched, demanding a second vote on Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Claiming it was the “biggest protest since the Iraq war,” Khan led more than half a million anti-Brexit campaigners, who flooded London streets in a rally dubbed “The People’s Vote March.”
As Mayor Khan addressed the huge crowds from the stand, he called the event the “march for the future of young Britons,” claiming many children who were too young to vote in 2016 are now of a voting age and “deserve a say,” as he called for a second referendum.
In an apparently well-funded operation, around 150 buses ferried thousands of activists from all across the UK to the nation’s capital on Saturday while thousands dressed in royal blue clothing emblazoned with gold stars, brandishing signs with slogans reading “bin Brexit now” and “I want a say on Brexit.”
Organizers said 670,000 demonstrators marched from Park Lane to a rally in Parliament Square despite originally only expecting around 100,000 to attend.
If the numbers are correct, this weekend’s demonstration would be the largest since 2003 when around one million people protested against the Iraq War on London streets.
Several liberal celebrities joined the protests, claiming they are “winning the argument,” slamming those who voted to leave the EU as ill-informed.
According to the Daily Mail, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Saturday’s event was a “march for the future” for young Britons, including those who were too young to vote in Britain’s 2016 EU membership referendum, when those who favor leaving the bloc won by 52 percent to 48 percent.
The mayor, from the opposition Labour Party, has previously backed mounting calls for a fresh referendum so that the public can have a say on whether they accept Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal or choose to stay in the EU.
He said: “What’s clear is that the only options on the table now from the prime minister are a bad Brexit deal or no deal whatsoever.
“That’s a million miles away from what was promised two-and-a-half years ago.”
Leading speeches in Parliament Square, TV cook Delia Smith said people were not fully informed when they voted but now understood “the dire consequences.”
“When the vote first happened we weren’t fully informed,” she said.
Organizers of the rally, People’s Vote UK, posted to Twitter: “Well over HALF A MILLION are marching on Parliament today, demanding a #PeoplesVote on the Brexit deal. Everybody needs to know this.”
The protesters were joined by other famous faces including comedian Eddie Izzard, who came dressed in a navy suit waving British and EU flags.
He added: “I can’t think of anything more democratic, anything more British, than trusting the judgment of the British people.”
Anti-Brexit celebrities and politicians including Conservative MP Anna Soubry, Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable gave speeches ahead of the march.
Addressing the cheering crows, Ms. Soubry said: “It is clear we are the many.
“We are winning the argument, most importantly against those who voted leave.”
She added: “We will take responsibly and sort of this mess.”
In a video message of support, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said: “Let me say this loudly and clearly if the issue comes before the House of Commons, SNP MPs will support a People’s Vote which includes the option to remain in the EU.”
She added: “The Tory government’s handling of these negotiations has been chaotic, incompetent and shambolic.
“Having spent two years telling us that no deal was better than a bad deal, the Prime Minister is now preparing to pile pressure on MPs to vote for a bad or blindfold deal on the grounds that ‘no deal’ would be catastrophic.
“She is trying to scare the UK into the frying pan out of fear of the fire.
“It is a scandal and it should not be accepted.”
Lord Of The Rings actor Andy Serkis attended the rally with his wife and son, and described it as “one of the most, if not the most important march of a generation.”
Elsewhere, Crazy Rich Asians and Humans star Gemma Chan tweeted a snap of herself with a banner reading: “Even Baldrick had a f****** plan.”
Other famous faces included TV presenter Richard Bacon, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden, comedian Jenny Eclair and Holby City actors Catherine Russell and Hugh Quarshie.
James McGrory, one of the organizers of the march, said voters should have the chance to change their minds because the decision will impact their lives for generations.
“People think the Brexit negotiations are a total mess, they have no faith in the government to deliver the promises that were made, partly because they cannot be delivered,” he said.
At the march, demonstrators carried placards saying “Brexit is pants judgment,” “Time for an EU turn,” and “European and proud.”
Organizers said about 670,000 people took part in the march, which would make it the largest in Britain since a demonstration against the Iraq war in 2003.
The “People’s Vote” campaign, which includes several pro-EU groups, said they had stewards stationed at regular intervals to estimate the size of the crowd.
The police did not provide an independent estimate of numbers participating.
Meanwhile, Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage joined Brexit supporters in Harrogate for this afternoon’s Save Brexit rally at Harrogate Conference Centre.
And a sizeable crowd waving EU flags and carrying anti-DUP placards converged outside Belfast city hall.
Even some of the dogs on the street bore the bloc’s blue and gold symbol.
Cross-community Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said: “We have the EU to thank for the longest period of peace and stability on the continent of Europe in history.
“The EU forced nations to compromise, forced people to come together on the big issues like climate change.
“It underpinned the peace.
“The EU spent money underpinning the peace right across Europe, from the fall of the Berlin Wall, which could have been chaotic, right through to the former Yugoslavia.
“Nowhere did it do that more so than right here.”
She said the Brexit debate was not about protecting the UK’s union or creating a united Ireland, as it has been by some on opposite sides of the issue.
MrsOrganizers Long said: “This is about the people of this place coming together and saying, just like the EU, we value cooperation, we value immigration, we value working together in the best interests of everyone in this society.
“That is why we value the EU judgment is not just a model of cooperation, it underpins the very cooperation that we need here.”
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s apparent support for Brexit was referenced as a reason for Northern Ireland to reject it.