People's Vote: 'We demand our say'
PUBLISHED: 09:54 23 June 2018 | UPDATED: 19:43 23 June 2018
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Tens of thousands of pro-EU demonstrators are massing in London to continue the fight against Brexit.
Two years on from the referendum result, organisers are predicting the biggest march yet demanding a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.
As many as 100,000 people are expected to mass in Pall Mall before marching on parliament.
Gina Miller, who has been challenging the government on Brexit policy in the courts, Labour’s David Lammy, Tory Anna Soubry. Lib Dem leader Vince Cable and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas will address the crowds.
A map and accessibility information can be found on the People’s March website here.
In his speech at the march Sir Vince is expected to say: “Brexit is not a done deal. Brexit is not inevitable. Brexit can be stopped.
“Parliament is fiddling at the margins while the country slowly burns. “
He will warn that Brexit will “slowly and painfully” damage the country.
“Theresa May admits there will be damage. Her policy is damage limitation,” he will say.
“Better to stop the damage. To return the issue to the people, to vote on the deal (or no deal).
“With the option of staying in the EU and working to improve it rather than walk away.”
The march comes as more Brexit nonsense is spouted by cabinet ministers.
Boris Johnson has urged the prime minister to deliver a “full British Brexit” as cabinet colleague Liam Fox said the UK was not “bluffing” about being prepared to walk away from talks with Brussels.
International Trade Secretary Fox said the economic impact of a “no deal” Brexit on EU members would be “severe”.
Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Johnson said people would not tolerate a “bog roll Brexit” that was “soft, yielding and seemingly infinitely long”.
Their bluster came as research by the Centre for European Reform (CER) think tank indicated Brexit had already made the UK economy 2.1% weaker than it would have been if voters had decided to stay in the EU.
Fox told the BBC: “The prime minister has always said that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and that no deal would be better than a bad deal, and I think it’s essential as we enter the next phase of the negotiations that the EU understands that and believes it.”
He said the threat had “added credibility because if we were to leave, the economic impact on a number of European countries would be severe”.
“Countries like Ireland, countries like the Netherlands, countries like Belgium, would really feel the impact of that and that cannot be what the European Union 27 actually want to see,” he said, adding: “I think our negotiating partners would not be wise if they believed that the Prime Minister was bluffing.”
His comments were recorded before Airbus warned it could be forced to pull out of the UK if there was a “no deal” Brexit.
Katherine Bennett, Airbus’s senior vice president in the UK said: “We don’t deal in idle threats. We seriously believe a no deal Brexit would be catastrophic.”
Writing in the Sun, Johnson said the public were keen to get on with breaking away from Brussels.
“Across the country I find people who - whatever they voted two years ago - just want us to get on and do it,” he said.
“They don’t want a half-hearted Brexit. They don’t want some sort of hopeless compromise, some perpetual pushme-pullyou arrangement in which we stay half-in and half-out in a political no man’s land - with no more ministers round the table in Brussels and yet forced to obey EU laws.
“They don’t want some bog roll Brexit, soft, yielding and seemingly infinitely long.
“They want this government to fulfil the mandate of the people and deliver a full British Brexit.”
The CER estimate of a 2.1% smaller economy than if the UK had voted to remain in the EU is equivalent to a knock-on hit of £23 billion a year to the public finances, some £440 million a week.
The think tank created a model using data from similar OECD economies including Canada, Japan, Hungary and the US to estimate how the UK would have performed if the referendum result had gone the other way.
CER deputy director John Springford said: “Two years on from the referendum, we now know that the Brexit vote has seriously damaged the economy.
“And we know that the government’s ‘Brexit dividend’ is a myth, the vote is costing the Treasury £440 million a week, far more than the UK ever contributed to the EU budget.”