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Analysis

October’s march changed Brexit landscape. Bring on March 23!

by Luke Lythgoe | 22.02.2019

The “Put It To The People” march in London on March 23 will be another massive chance for people to demand that MPs end the Brexit impasse and hand the final decision on Brexit back to voters. With the stars aligning, the time’s definitely ripe for another big push. And for anyone who thinks the 700,000 people who marched last year didn’t change anything, here’s how it boosted the campaign for People’s Vote.

A People’s Vote can no longer be ignored

The October march catapulted a People’s Vote into the political mainstream. Just two days after the march, Theresa May was forced for the first time to tackle a People’s Vote head on in the Commons. By November her “my deal or no deal” mantra had transformed to “my deal, no deal or no Brexit” – an important recognition from the prime minister that Brexit was not inevitable. Since then, a People’s Vote has been seen as a frontrunner among the possible Brexit outcomes.

Ministers resigned to back a People’s Vote

In November two ministers – Jo Johnson and Sam Gyimah – quit to support the campaign. The momentum behind a People’s Vote played a big part.

  Join us at the  

  March 23rd | Noon | Park Lane, London  

May’s deal was defeated

MPs rejected the prime minister’s deal last month by a historic 230-vote margin. It’s a miserable deal which damages the economy – and turns us into a rule-taker. It is also a blindfold Brexit. We won’t know what we’re getting until years after we’ve left. And it will mean years more political infighting. Some MPs might nevertheless be tempted to support the deal to avoid the risk of crashing out with “no deal” at all – were it not for the fact that the public has helped put a third option on the table: a People’s Vote.

Labour moving closer to a public vote

Labour agreed its Brexit strategy before last October’s march: to try for a general election and, failing that, “support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”. But the demonstration of people power is one factor that has kept the party moving forward.

A vote of no confidence in the government, which could have triggered a general election, has already failed. Jeremy Corbyn has now sketched out his own Brexit proposal, and this is expected to be put to a vote next week. Assuming there won’t be the numbers in Parliament for Corbyn’s plan, and that pressure from within his party continues to grow, Labour could even be campaigning for a new referendum come March 23.

Parliament is deadlocked. And it’s no accident why. The government can’t produce a Brexit deal that matches the promises of 2016 or is as good as our current deal in the EU. So MPs must put it back to the people. Sign up to join the march – and get your family and friends to come along too!

Edited by Hugo Dixon