Pundits were wrong to write-off the People’s Vote campaign

PUBLISHED: 16:37 25 February 2019

Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote march through central London. (Photograph by Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote march through central London. (Photograph by Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media

Whisper it quietly but the momentum is behind a People’s Vote again, writes BRAHMPREET KAUR.

Not too long ago, commentators and pundits were gleefully writing eulogies for the People’s Vote campaign. In early February, after the prime minister managed to fudge her way to a parliamentary majority (sort of), with the Labour party’s continued intransigence in the face of member opinion to support a People’s Vote and the clock continuing to run down - it was universally agreed that if there ever was a chance for a People’s Vote, it was now gone.

But - whisper it quietly - there is growing momentum for a People’s Vote once again.

Much of politics has rightly been focused on the creation of The Independents Group (TIG), and what it means for both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May’s respective leadership of their parties. What has been under-reported is the immense pressure the creation of TIG has meant on each leader’s Brexit position. MPs from both parties who fear the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit - that both leaders appear to be allowing to happen - now have a credible place to go.

It’s why the response of senior leaders in the Labour Party such as the deputy leader Tom Watson and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have been so strong. McDonnell gave an interview last week where his key message was that Labour are “moving towards a People’s Vote”, whilst Watson even said that he “might well be” on the Put it to the People March on 23rd March.

Cabinet ministers have been getting in on the action as well, with Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark have publicly warned of a Brexit delay, and have more than hinted at resignations over a no-deal Brexit.

It’s clear that the prime minister’s Brexit Deal is not close to gaining the support of the House of Commons, and there’s lots of good reasons why. Aside from the Irish Backstop issue, it’s a million miles away from the Brexit that was promised - making us permanently poorer and less powerful in the world.

So parliament (and the government) are once again in crisis, with weeks to go until ‘Brexit Day’.

Despite what the prime minister may think, at some point there has to be a meaningful vote in the House of Commons again. There is only one amendment which has growing traction amongst MPs of all parties.

The Kyle/Wilson amendment - which supports the prime minister’s deal, on the caveat that it’s then put to a public vote, with Remain as the other option - has gathered a number of supporters over the last week. As well as shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer arguing for Labour frontbench support, known supporter of the prime minister’s Deal John Cryer MP, has tweeted his support of the Kyle/Wilson amendment.

Outside of parliament, the People’s Vote campaign have launched the Put It To The People March on the 23rd March, which has received more than £250,000 in donations and is expected to have hundreds of thousands of attendees, from across the entirety of the United Kingdom.

I’m proud that groups like For our Future’s Sake - led by diverse young people from across the United Kingdom have been leading the charge. Whilst government and many politicians bicker, young people and students are riding the wave of an idea whose time has come - a People’s Vote on the Brexit Deal.

• Brahmpreet Kaur is a supporter of the youth anti-Brexit campaign For our Future’s Sake and lives in Leicester.

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