Thousands of pro-EU activists take to the streets demanding vote on final Brexit deal

Several pro-EU groups have joined forces to mount an attack on the government's Brexit plans

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Friday 13 April 2018 00:01 BST
What is still needed to complete a deal with the EU?

Thousands of activists will take to the streets on Saturday as part of a national day of action to demonstrate public support for a vote on the final Brexit deal.

Several pro-EU organisations have joined forces to mount an attack on the government’s Brexit plans with more than 350 events across the country, ahead of the launch of a £1m campaign demanding the opportunity to stay in the EU if the people want to.

Remain-backing groups have been emboldened by a recent shift in public support towards staying in the EU, and a number of high-profile figures have come out in favour of a second referendum, including former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair.

A recent poll for the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain found that 44 per cent of people want a vote on the exit terms secured by Theresa May, while 36 per cent were against the idea of a further referendum. However, other polls offer mixed messages on the public’s views on reversing Brexit.

MPs have been promised a “meaningful vote” on the final deal after inflicted a humiliating parliamentary defeat on the government.

But Ms May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have both ruled out the prospect of allowing a public vote on the terms.

As well as flagship events in 12 cities, ranging from Weston-super-Mare to Edinburgh, there will also be thousands of supporters setting up stalls and leafleting in both Remain and Leave areas.

Cross-party MPs including Tory Anna Soubry and Labour’s Chuka Umunna are expected to speak at the launch of the People’s Vote on Sunday, led by the pro-EU campaign group Open Britain and the European Movement, which is chaired by former Conservative health secretary Stephen Dorrell.

James McGrory, executive director of Open Britain, said: “Our largest ever national day of action is all about bringing together the various pro-European groups so that we can speak with one, unified voice, because we know that together we are stronger.”

It comes as MPs prepare to return to parliament after recess next week, where Ms May faces a number of challenges securing the safe passage of her key Brexit bill through the House of Lords.

Labour’s leader in the upper chamber warned the prime minister the EU Withdrawal Bill will face a “rocky road” unless ministers bring forward acceptable amendments to the legislation.

Angela Smith, writing exclusively in The Independent, said the government could face defeat on the bill at the hands of a coalition of Labour, Tory and other peers, potentially delaying the vital legislation by sending it back to the House of Commons.

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