Grassroots anti-Brexit groups urge EU to keep door open for no Brexit

PUBLISHED: 15:11 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:21 26 November 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk arrives with British Prime Minister Theresa May to attend the European Council special meeting to endorse the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/PA.

European Council President Donald Tusk arrives with British Prime Minister Theresa May to attend the European Council special meeting to endorse the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/PA.

DPA/PA Images

As the prime minister published her “letter to the nation” to try and sell her Brexit deal, more than a hundred grassroots anti-Brexit campaign groups have written to the president of the European Council urging him to keep ‘no Brexit’ an option.

A total of 114 grassroots organisations have asked Donald Tusk not to do anything that would place obstacles in the way of a fresh referendum - and urges him to make a provision for the possible revocation of Article 50.

The initiative has been coordinated by Grassroots for Europe - a network of local activists across the UK fighting against Brexit.

The letter was hand delivered to Tusk’s Brussels office shortly after the summit with Theresa May when ministers from the EU approved the Withdrawal Agreement. It calls on Tusk to recognise that the prime minister does not represent a majority view - and that the “will of the people” had turned against Brexit.

MORE: BBC builds platform to block out anti-Brexit campaigners... and fails

Prime minister Theresa May has finally admitted that ‘no Brexit’ is a possibility if her Brexit plan is voted down in the Commons - with Tusk also confirming that it was an option still on the table.

Grassroots for Europe co-organiser Richard Wilson, of Leeds for Europe, said: “Our campaigners know from talking every week to ordinary people on streets and doorsteps that public opinion is changing and people are realising the Brexit deal is nothing like what they were promised or what many of them were persuaded to vote for.

“We are making sure that our MPs know this, understand that the people’s will has changed, and carry out the people’s majority demand for the right to reject Brexit.

MORE: Peston: ‘For the first time it feels like Brexit will be stopped’

“With this letter we are taking the same message to the EU in Brussels, to ask, in the mutual interest of all EU citizens, for the time and cooperation to allow UK electors the chance of a democratic rethink.”

The letter cites recent opinion polls which show a majority of British voters would now support remaining.

It concludes: “As representatives of a substantial – quite possibly majority – view of ordinary British people, from all parts of our kingdom, we now ask you to please hear our voices and realise that the mood in the UK has moved against Brexit.

MORE: First analysis of government’s Brexit plan finds UK would be £100 billion poorer each year

“In this context, we urge you to keep open the possibility of Article 50 being revoked and the UK remaining in the European Union.”

Dr Mike Galsworthy from Scientists for EU commented: “One of the remarkable features of British society since 2016 is the surge of grassroots pro-European groups springing up all over the UK. There is a cultural shift driven from the bottom up - one that talks to neighbours in the streets and organises mass marches. Nowhere in Europe is there a such a strong pro-European positive cultural force as the one currently tipping the balance for EU support across the UK. Now would not be the right time to shut the door on the Brits after our public have battled through three years of debate and education on this. We want to stay in the EU and engage in building Europe.”

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