Anti-Brexit rally: Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart addresses People's Vote launch in Camden
PUBLISHED: 08:47 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:47 16 April 2018
More than 1,200 people joined an anti-Brexit rally in Camden where the new People's Vote campaign was unveiled by Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart.
The rally at the Electric Ballroom 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.
People’s Vote is a cross-party coalition of MPs, businessmen, celebrities and nine groups who are pushing for another referendum on the final Brexit deal.
Opening the event, Sir Patrick, 78, told the crowd that he “will not stand idly by” whilst Britain’s “future is at stake”.
The actor, famous for productions including Star Trek and X-Men, even said his fictional character Charles Xavier would have supported the Remain campaign.
He said: “It is not Charles Xavier standing here in front of you - although I can assure you that if he was, he would have voted Remain. And why? Because unity, common cause, wellbeing of society and debate were paramount to belief of this fictional character.
“Since the 2016 referendum, there has been a concerted effort by many - including government - to shut down debate about Brexit and to tell us that we should simply trust ministers to get on with it because Brexit is an irreversible process.
“That we shouldn’t worry about the cost and complexity of it or the litany of broken promises. Well today we say that’s not good enough. Our country’s future is at stake and we will not stand idly by. That is why I support a people’s vote on the final deal.”
MP 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 The People’s Vote campaign will demand voters are given the final say rather than Parliament on the deal secured by Prime Minister Theresa May.