Brexiteers left confused by Commons result during 'betrayal' protest

PUBLISHED: 19:02 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 19:12 29 March 2019

Protesters in Parliament Square, during The March to Leave protest. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Protesters in Parliament Square, during The March to Leave protest. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Brexiteers protesting against a Brexit ‘betrayal’ did not know whether to cheer or boo Theresa May’s Brexit deal getting defeated again in the House of Commons.

Protesters in Parliament Square, during The March to Leave protest. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA WireProtesters in Parliament Square, during The March to Leave protest. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Some cheered when the prime minister suffered another Commons defeat when her Withdrawal Agreement was rejected - despite them marching for Brexit to be delivered.

Others were left fearing it meant a fresh referendum and further delay.

The March to Leave started in Sunderland two weeks ago. It was joined by prominent Brexiteer Nigel Farage near Tate Britain, which is less than a mile from the end in Parliament Square.

Farage celebrated the defeat of May’s “appalling” agreement, saying he would rather have an extension to Article 50 or leave with no deal immediately.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage after speaking on stage at the March to Leave protest in Parliament Square. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA WireFormer UKIP leader Nigel Farage after speaking on stage at the March to Leave protest in Parliament Square. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

“If there are more battles to come be they European elections or whatever else that’s what we’ll focus our energies on,” he told the Press Association.

Their reaction reinforced how confusing the Brexit process has been for on-lookers.

Danny Wallace, 28, from Manchester, said: “I listened to what happened and Theresa May pretty much said she’s going to come out with a second referendum.

“That’s a bad idea, I think what most people wanted was what was on the table.”

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage after speaking on stage at the March to Leave protest in Parliament Square. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA WireFormer UKIP leader Nigel Farage after speaking on stage at the March to Leave protest in Parliament Square. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Roger Hopkins and Charlotte Clifford, both from Eastbourne, said they were pleased the agreement had been defeated as it was a “bad deal”.

Hopkins, who is retired, said: “What I really really hope for now is to come out on WTO (World Trade Organisation) terms, it’s not ‘crashing out’ or anything like that.”

Clifford added: “The people are supposed to be the masters and them inside (pointing at Parliament) are meant to do what we tell them. It’s democracy.”

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the English Defence League founder who now advises UKIP, acknowledged the confusion to cheering fans.

“So Theresa May has lost her vote. Many people will be asking what does that even mean,” said the activist, who goes by the name of Tommy Robinson.

“It means we were betrayed. Today is supposed to be our Independence Day.”

The final leg of the March To Leave saw hundreds of marchers file from Fulham towards Parliament Square.

Scotland Yard was compelled to dismiss as “baseless and false” suggestions from present UKIP leader Gerard Batten that water cannon could be deployed at protests to “provoke Brexiteers”.

The Metropolitan Police did have three water cannon - purchased while Boris Johnson was London mayor - but they were sold at a more than £300,000 loss because their use had been banned.

Westminster Council said it is aware of up to 13 separate scheduled protests and the Metropolitan Police said “appropriate policing plans are in place”.

Scotland Yard said: “We will always provide a proportionate policing plan to balance the right to peaceful protest, while ensuring that disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.”

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