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Thousands march in London to demand referendum on Brexit deal

Thousands march in London to demand referendum on Brexit deal

Tens of thousands marched through the streets of London to demand a referendum on the terms of Brexit on the second anniversary of the EU vote.

Demonstrators, waving EU flags and placards, attended the People’s Vote rally in central London on Saturday afternoon, walking from Pall Mall to Parliament Square.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, Green co-leader Caroline Lucas, actor Tony Robinson and pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller were among those who joined the crowd in the capital.

Sir Vince told the Press Association he thought evidence was pointing towards a public rethink of Brexit if the terms of any deal were put to a vote.

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He said: “There are lots of things we didn’t know at the time.”

“We didn’t know about the cost of the divorce bill, about the fact that we’d have less not more revenue for the NHS, we didn’t know about the Irish frontier problem.”

“We didn’t know that we’re going to get president Trump or we’re going to destroy the trading system on which Brexit depends. The mood has changed.”

He also accused the Russian government of “contaminating” the vote, adding Brexit “creates a more chaotic world, that’s what they want and they put their money behind it and it’s done a lot of damage”.

In the crowd Matthew Mann, originally from south Gloucestershire, who moved to the Netherlands in 2016 for work, said: “I’m here to show what a European looks like.”

The IT consultant added: “I’m married to a French wife, I have two children who are dual national, and we live in Holland and are caught up in this administrative mess.”

Actor Tony Robinson said he attended as he had a “deep and abiding love for my country” and accused hardline Brexiteer politicians of “peddling the fantasy of a UK that never existed except perhaps in the imaginations of their nannies and parlourmaids.”

Organisers of the march said at least 100,000 people attended, but police did not provide an official estimate.

The crowd could be heard to chant “Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?”. The Labour leader is currently in Jordan visiting refugee camps.

But Labour’s John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor said he would prefer a general election to a second referendum if a Brexit deal cannot be agreed and approved before the UK leaves the EU.

Addressing the conference of the grassroots Open Labour group in London, the MP, whose Hayes and Harrington constituency in West London voted Leave, said he wanted to avoid a Ukip resurgence or a repeat of xenophobia that marred the 2016 vote.

Elsewhere in the crowd, computer science academic Robert Brady, 62, said: “I have an Italian wife, I work in Cambridge, she works in Rome… I think we’re technically what’s called ‘border workers’.”

He added he thought a second referendum was “almost inevitable” as “demographically, younger people are in favour, they want jobs, they don’t want to sing Elgar”.

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