Heseltine tells Johnson to ‘get in the real world’ at People’s Vote rally

Lord Heseltine at the People's Vote rally in Birmingham. Photograph: People's Vote Rally.

Lord Heseltine at the People's Vote rally in Birmingham. Photograph: People's Vote Rally. - Credit: Archant

A thousand people packed out a rally in Birmingham to declare that Boris Johnson's plan to force his destructive Brexit on the country would disgrace the democracy.

The "Let Us Be Heard" rally was the latest in a series being organised across Britain as part of a long hot summer of protest, against the imposition of a form of Brexit that was barely mentioned in the last referendum.

Former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine was joined on stage by the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, legendary football commentator Clive Tyldesley and a host of other speakers on the platform.

Lord Heseltine, the president of the European Movement and a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, launched a ferocious attack on the new Conservative Government, saying Boris Johnson has lost touch with reality.

"Instead of making judgements based on facts, expert opinion and sound advice, the government retreats deeper into the caves of their own prejudice where they only hear their own voices - or voices like theirs - echoing back at them," he told the audience.


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"In their world, it is all a great adventure. In this world, the poor Europeans need us more than we need them. In this world, we only have to wave the club of no-deal Brexit at Jonny foreigner for him to come back to heel.

"Well, I say tonight, welcome to that real world. A parliament opposed to no deal. The public opposed to no deal. The European Union opposed to ripping up the withdrawal agreement. The new government clinging to power with a gossamer-thin majority. The ranks of backbenchers behind the new Prime Minister filled with those he has sacked because they - like every right-thinking MP and citizen of our country - oppose no deal.

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"The simplistic assertions of the new prime minister melt in the face of cold logic. There is no majority for no deal. There is no democratic mandate for no deal. There is no way that Boris Johnson can force his extreme Brexit on the British people without our permission.

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said that the government were running scared of what the "will of the people" might say.

She said: "My youngest son Danny will turn 11 years old on the 30th of October this year. I cannot bear the thought that the very next day his future could radically change because some privileged egotists, made prime minister by less than 1% of the country, want to play a game of chicken with our lives."

"I stand here as a Brummie who represents a working-class area and I am sick of the midlands and north being used as a rhetorical tool by people who probably think that Dudley and Birmingham are the same.

"They claim to be representing the will of the people but seem to be afraid to ask those very people what they think of these new plans."

"I have a deep faith in the British people, in my friends and neighbours...It is for this reason that now they must be in charge, we must put it to the people."

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