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Analysis

1 million march already causing cracks in Brexit edifice

by Luke Lythgoe | 25.03.2019

More than a million people were in London this weekend for the Put It To The People march. That makes it among the biggest demonstrations this country has ever seen. A huge thanks to everyone who made the journey – whether by train, plane or walking from Swansea.

This march wasn’t about pitting Parliament against the people – as the prime minister has tried to do. It wasn’t about Left versus Right. It wasn’t even about Leave versus Remain. The Brexit debate has moved on. It was a message sent from all parts of the country, by people of all political persuasions and none: this Brexit is broken and it must be put to the people.

The spectacular scenes on Saturday – alongside the 5 million signatures on a parliamentary petition against Brexit – have begun to have an effect on the direction of politics as well. Most notably, the chancellor was on a Sky News sofa yesterday describing a new referendum as a “perfectly coherent proposition” which “deserves to be considered”. That’s a huge deviation from the government’s official Brexit policy.

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Elsewhere, the influential chair of the Commons’ Brexit select committee Hilary Benn announced publicly during the march that he will be voting for a “confirmatory referendum” on Brexit this week. And Tory minister Mark Field, formerly a vocal supporter of Theresa May’s deal, has said he would be “happy” to revoke Article 50 entirely if it meant avoiding “utter paralysis” over Brexit. Of course, if Field thinks Brexit will be a damaging and not what people voted for he should back a People’s Vote.

These shifts among key MPs will matter as Parliament attempts to take control of the Brexit process this week.

Meanwhile Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has suggested that his party could fight a snap general election with a manifesto pledge to put whatever Brexit solution emerges to a public vote. Starmer is well known to be on the more pro-European wing of his party, but the leadership has generally moved in his direction over recent months. The demonstration over the weekend will allow him to make an even stronger case that Brexit must be put back to the people.

The march has not caused an earthquake in itself – one event was never likely to be decisive amidst this Brexit mess. But it has caused tremors and cracks are appearing. Last weekend could prove to be the moment the Brexit edifice started to crumble and fall down. That’s thanks to all of you who took to the streets to show that the “will of the people” cannot belong to just one side. Whatever happens in the coming weeks, Brexit must now be put back to the people.

10 Responses to “1 million march already causing cracks in Brexit edifice”

  • 1 million marched on the platform of a second vote. BUT over 17 million already voted to leave the EU – should their vote be discarded by sheer incompetence of the MPs we elected to carry thru our opinion?

  • Hello Ray Green.
    Did you not read the article?
    The march was about “having a second vote”. That was something even Nigel Garbage is in favour of.
    If the 17 million are still in favour of Brexit even though they now know that the NHS is not going to get its £350 million per week, but economic chaos and unemployment instead, they can all vote again for it, can’t they?
    Or are you afraid that now that they know that Brexit is nothing but a Tory extremist asset-stripping party, they might vote differently?
    Come on, Ray, be a man! Follow Nigel Garbage’s lead and support the second referendum and then we can see, can’t we?

  • Ray,
    – 16.1 Million voted to Remain (in an advisory Referendum)
    – Difference is 1.3 million, meaning result was swung by 650,000 or 1% of the population in a campaign won on the basis of false promises.
    5.435 Million have signed the Petition to Revoke Article 50 altogether. If just one in eight of these is someone who changed their mind, Brexit is no longer the will of the people.
    Remember “A Democracy that cannot change its mind ceases to be a Democracy” David Davis.

  • How people voted aside.
    Article 50 should not have been submitted without a solid exit plan.

    The London Olympics took six years to organise for one month of activities.
    How could we plan to leave Europe in such a short space of time? Surely we shouldn’t have put in the article 50 until we had a foolproof exit strategy and a plan to start implementing over the notice period of two years?

  • 2016 and Theresa May say her chance and took it and became our PM. She, and those around her, seemed to be under the genuine illusion that Brexit was a slam-dunk. As time went on, it became more apparent, especially given that her Brexit minister (David Davis) was utterly incompetent, that the process was going to be long and very, very difficult. The EU was never going to allow us to leave with our “cake and eat it”, otherwise several other countries, including France, might have followed suit. So, far from having an easy ride into the history books, she found herself impaled on a rack of indecision, lies, fantasy, self-serving colleagues, foulmouthed press and general unhappiness. But give the devil (her) due, she stuck with it, when a more sensible person might have seen the writing on the wall and chucked it. Now she must realise that all her dreams of historical greatness (joining the ranks of Churchill et al, etc) are crumbling into dust. She has earned the opprobrium of just about everyone, but she still marches on, heading with enormous determination, towards the cliff edge. I wonder at which point she will fold, and either bow to Parliament (assuming they can get their act together) or call a halt to the whole thing (no doubt blaming the HoC).

    Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • The GLA believe 250k were present. A study by Manchester Metropolitan University concluded there were somewhere between 312k and 400k in attendance.

    In the interest of honesty, don’t you think you should abandon the nonsense of the more than 1 million claim?

  • It is such a pity that no one is prepared to stand up and say quite how many jobs will go in a ‘No Deal’.
    Leaving the EU is bad enough and leaving the Single Market is disastrous but, not being able to open up discussions with alternatives, really NOT an option either.
    We joined the Commonn Market (EEC) not the EU.
    So reneg on Article 50 and fight from within.

  • Again this thing about the “European Superstate” bobbing up. Tell me who so far have been the more successful states on the world scene since WWII and I will demonstrate why a voluntary federation states might just be the one thing that allows us in Europe to protect our present state of welfare at all. Just remember: the US of A, Canada, Australia and several others are such federations and they all have federal problems keeping the coop together. Europe with its historical internal distrust is that much harder to hold together but until this feeble minded British exercise in Xenophobia and supposed national superiority we actually made quite a decent job of it. Purely looking at the long period of peace Western Europe managed to live through.