Protesters to demand vote on Brexit

Tens of thousands of people, including London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan and politicians from across the political spectrum, are expected to attend a march, calling for a second referendum on Brexit in central London on Saturday.

They will be joined by student groups, unions, and community groups and others amid growing calls for a public vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal being negotiated by the British government with the EU. Over the past year, a number of rallies have taken place in London and other parts of the U.K., but the latest is seen as particularly significant, coming at a time of growing concern about Britain’s ability to reach a deal with EU negotiators.

Over 8,00,000 people have signed an online petition backing the “final say” campaign. “In 2016, the people were given their say on the principle of whether to stay in the EU or leave. Now, the facts are becoming clearer, it’s time for the people to have the final say on the real deal — before it’s too late,” reads the petition.

“The government is failing in its Brexit negotiations. We face the real risk of a bad deal, or no deal. Both would cause huge damage to London and the U.K.,” said Mr. Khan on Friday.

Coaches are set to bring participants to the march from across the country on Saturday — a number of public figures such as actor Patrick Stewart, author Ian McEwan and cook book author Delia Smith are contributing to the costs of the coach travel.

Complete chaos

“Leave voters and businesses… were promised a deal on trade not after we have left the EU, but at the time that we leave the EU,” said Conservative MP and People’s Vote campaigner Anna Soubry during a parliamentary debate earlier this week.

“They were told that it would be the easiest deal in the history of trade deals. They were told that it would convey the “exact same benefits” as our membership of the single market and the customs union. What we now see is complete chaos and a total mess.”

Opinion is divided on the impact of the public campaign for a people’s vote — and the practicality of holding it before March 29, the date the U.K. is set to leave the EU. “Positions are so polarised on Brexit that I am not sure they are going to be shifted,” says Anand Menon, a professor of politics at Kings College London and the director of the UK in a Changing World Initiative. “The key issue is whether or not Parliament can approve a Brexit deal. If they do, the march becomes irrelevant. If they don’t, it certainly becomes an option,” he said.

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