WATCH: Crowds march on Tory conference
PUBLISHED: 16:10 30 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:06 30 September 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Thousands of pro-EU campaigners descended on Birmingham to demand the government: "Bin Brexit."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism
As the Conservatives gathered for their annual conference Remainers packed the streets in a bid to get their message across loud and clear.
Speakers included Femi Oluwole, from Our Future, Our Choice, Mike Galsworthy the founder of Scientists4EU and New European contributors Andrew Adonis and philosopher AC Grayling.
Husband and wife Ian and Mary Thorpe travelled from Manchester for the protest and said they hoped some Tories who hadn’t yet made up their minds on whether to back a People’s Vote might be swayed.
“I think there are those MPs who are just keeping quiet,” Ian said. “We need those MPs to be brave and push the prime minister into giving us another say. Everything has changed since 2016. The people who were conned last time in to voting Leave will not be conned again, I am sure of that.”
Mary added: “I have something in common with Leavers – I also think that Theresa May should chuck Chequers. What we don’t have in common, obviously, is our views on a no-deal Brexit.
“I am terrified of crashing out – for my children and their futures. We must be given the chance to have a second vote.”
Campaigners marched through Birmingham before holding a two-hour rally in the city centre.
A smattering of activists waved Tories Against Brexit banners after the launch of the group this weekend.
Tim Skeet, from the group, told the crowd: “A certain prime minister is continuing to drive this bus over the cliff.
“The only way forward is to bin Brexit and to remain in the EU.”
Labour peer Lord Adonis mocked the Conservatives for the security issues they suffered with a party app as the conference opened.
“These are the people who tell us they can have the IT systems in place and all of the technology for Canada plus plus, for the frictionless border, for free trade without borders in Ireland,” he added.
“It is a complete farce.”
“There isn’t such a thing as a good Brexit,” he added.
Philosopher AC Grayling said he was optimistic a fresh vote would be held.
“We are going to keep on fighting,” he told the Best for Britain rally.
“We are not going to give up.”
Andrew Hardie, 46, a language teacher from Bristol, voted Leave but has since changed his mind.
He said: “Right up to the referendum itself I was pretty much undecided.
“In the school I was working at we had a mock referendum and I voted Remain.
“On the day of the referendum itself I was in the polling booth for about 10, fifteen minutes and I really couldn’t make up my mind.
“I voted Leave in the end because I thought maybe ever closer union wasn’t really what I wanted.”
Mr Hardie said once the referendum result was known he thought, ‘What the heck have I done?’”
“In a way, me turning up today is almost me trying to make some sort of recompense for the mistake I made at the ballot box,” he said.
Tory conference kicked off, as expected, with a furious row over Brexit as Boris Johnson called Theresa May’s Chequers proposals “deranged”.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter