Thousands march on Westminster to demand vote on Brexit deal
Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart praised a crowd of thousands of people for keeping the fight for a second EU referendum alive as they filled the street of London on Saturday.
And many of them cheered as they learned Boris Johnson had lost a key Commons vote on his Withdrawal Agreement, withholding approval of the deal until the legislation to implement it is in place.
It came after Sir Patrick said the crowd has proven a second referendum was not the “pipe dream” that opponents have described it as.
He told the crowd: “You haven’t just filled a nice bar in north London, you have taken over an entire city. You haven’t just impacted the Brexit debate, you have transformed British politics.”
Sir Patrick added there was “nothing democratic” about the 2016 referendum.
“People weren’t just misled, they were lied to,” said Sir Patrick.
Effigies of the Prime Minister have been held aloft by protesters at the demonstration, with some accompanied by their pets draped in EU flags, on the People’s Vote march to Westminster.
A number of celebrities and politicians have joined the march, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan pictured alongside Sir Patrick and actor Stephen McGann at the front of the crowd as the march set off from Park Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Television chef Rick Stein shared an image of himself at the march, declaring “We are European”, while food critic Jay Rayner tweeted from the protest: “We march because we have to.”
Protesters are making their way through central London towards Parliament Square, where Great British Bake Off presenter Sandi Toksvig and opposition MPs are due to address the crowds, including Labour’s Jess Phillips and Liberal Democrat Luciana Berger.
One group of protesters spotted near Downing Street were pulling a float depicting Number 10 aide Dominic Cummings using Mr Johnson as a puppet.
With “Demonic Cummings” splashed across its forehead, the figure on the float appears to be wearing a Nazi uniform, including an armband which reads Get Brexit Done, and has a Union Jack moustache.
The float was being manned by Phil Jeanes, 67, who said he had driven the sculpture from Dusseldorf in Germany on Thursday night.
Mr Jeanes is part of a group called EU Flag Mafia, and has lived in Essen for the last nine years with his German wife.
He said the float had been specifically designed for the People’s Vote march by the German artist Jacques Tilly.
It is the fourth model designed by the artist, who also made a sculpture of Theresa May with her nose impaling a man in a bowler hat.
“He put 14 sketches together and we chose what we thought would be the best,” Mr Jeanes, who is retired, said.
“I suppose we were always intending to do a float for this march and you have to wait and see what is happening at the time.”
Meanwhile, pro-Brexit activists also gathered in Westminster
Jason Hurt, 48, from Sheffield, was sporting a “I voted Leave” T-shirt, and said he feels people who voted for Brexit are being ignored.
“I voted Leave, I want my voice heard,” he said.
“It is always about the Remainers, never about the Leavers. There are 17.4 million of us, we never get our voices heard.”
Pam Julian, from Bermondsey, south-east London, held a sign which read: “Screw EU, we want our country back” – but said she has nothing against Europe.
The 68-year-old said Brexit is about regaining her independence.
“It is not just about trade or what Boris is saying. The main thing is to regain our independence, to be able to self-govern,” she said.