Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart has praised a crowd for ‘transforming’ British politics, after large numbers of people took to the streets to demand a final say on Brexit.
He was joined by other Bake Off presenter Sandi Toksvig, as well as other celebrities and politicians at the People’s Vote rally in Parliament Square.
Sir Patrick said the crowd has proven a second referendum was not the “pipe dream” that opponents have described it as.
He said: “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,” he said.
Many of the thousands outside the Palace of Westminster 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.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine said that Brexit “is a creeping paralysis, where yesterday’s nostalgia distorts tomorrow’s opportunities.”
He said: “The very existence of our United Kingdom now hangs by a thread. Brexit will not bring us together. It is the wedge that will drive us apart.
“Europe, our largest home market will embroil us in years of detailed negotiation. Every decision will now be decided by unanimous votes of the remaining 27. Trade deals take so long because they can be hijacked by small groups in any one of those parliaments or even local authorities, leaving us at the mercy of every European pressure group.
“They call it taking back control. They dream of Donald Trump as some newly discovered benefactor when it is clear that the only special relationship he knows is ‘America first’. Yes we will save our contributions. The price – our economy already poorer by amounts that dwarf any savings.
“You have come from all over the country. From all parties and none. All generations, every class and creed. You’re British and proud of it. That is the heart of the matter.
“Pride in our history, our traditions, our culture, commits us to the partnership of modern Europe. Our voice has echoed across the centuries in a very different Europe. A Europe of bitter nationalism. A Europe of deep religious divide. We have helped to create a Europe of peace. A Europe where national pride and loyalty can be pooled in a shrinking world to enhance the power and influence of us all.
“In coming today you are marching into history. Not the history of yesteryear but the history of tomorrow.
“Do not lower your sights. Do not avert your gaze. Look straight. Look up.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told them: “We must put it back to the people.
“This is a pivotal moment in our history and it shouldn’t be left to a handful of MPs.”
She was joined by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, who said it was “fantastic” to see the demonstration.
He added: “It’s an historic moment, we have defeated Johnson again. We are not going to let him whip out with his sell-out deal.
“We will say no to him again and again. Whatever deal he brings must go back to the people.”
MP Antoinette Sandbach, who had the Conservative whip removed, credited the crowd with “changing her mind” on a second vote.
She said: “My local party voted no confidence in me for resisting no deal.
“It’s undemocratic and not what people voted for, but it’s honourable that I put my job on the line to protect tens of thousands of jobs that will be lost in the north west from no-deal Brexit.”