An anti-Brexit campaign demanding a referendum on the final deal before Britain leaves the EU was launched at a London rally this afternoon.
People’s Vote, a cross-party coalition of MPs, businessmen and even Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart, was unveiled in Camden, north London to over 1,200 people.
The launch attracted support from the Conservatives’ Anna Soubry, Labour’s Chuka Umuna, Liberal Democrat’s Layla Moran and the Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas.
Opening the event, Sir Patrick told the audience he supported the People’s Vote because “our country’s future is at stake and we will not stand idly by.”
Speaking to the excited crowd of pro-EU supporters, Anna Soubry said: “Us MPs made a decision that we would have a referendum. Since then, the people have been outside of the process.”
“The way I see it is this: as Brexit unfolds and people see the reality of it, for the first time ever I think in any country’s history we have actually had a government that has said to its people that we are about to embark on a course that – which ever way you cut it, whatever deals comes out – you and your grandchildren will be less prosperous than you are now. This is really serious stuff.”
“I think the best and right thing to do is to put it back to the people and have a say you can have a vote on this deal.”
Commenting on the cross-party nature of the grassroots movement, Chuka Umana, MP for Lambeth which had the highest Remain vote in the country, said: “We need more Conservative Members of Parliament to be as brave as Anna and many others who defied the whip and put their country before their party.”
“Also, this whole Punch and Judy, ultra-tribal kind of politics is over and Westminster hasn’t caught up yet.”
Chuka urged the Labour Party “to be true to its values” and support the People’s Vote group.
The event also heard from the Liberal Democrat’s Layla Moran, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas who declared, “Brexit is not inevitable people!”
The campaign, which was officially launched yesterday in towns across the country, is the joint effort of nine organisations. One of the them is Open Britain.
James McGrory, the executive director of Open Britain, said: “When we have been going around to local communities and talking to people about Brexit, there’s a real feeling that people are being shut out of a debate in London and Westminster.”
“These people know that Brexit is a really big deal, they know it isn’t a done deal and they want to have a final say on it. They want a people’s vote.”
James added that, if the campaign is successful, the question on the referendum ballot paper will be “between leaving with the deal on offer or remaining with the EU.”