Brussels Labour members joined 700,000 people in London to march for a People’s Vote to Stop Brexit on 20 October.
The third anti-Brexit march this year, it was by far the most well-attended as the Brexit process entered the final few months. As the negotiations for Britain’s departure from the EU on 29 March 2019 began to reach a climax, attention was also turning to the “Meaningful Vote” in the House of Commons where MPs will have to decide whether or not to ratify the final Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU. The march aimed to put pressure on MPs to legislate to allow the British people to have their say on the final deal when it finally comes before Parliament.
The biggest demonstration in London since 2003, Brussels Labour members joined up with the Labour ‘bloc’ to show the opposition to Brexit which also exists in the Labour movement. The total number of marchers far exceeded the expectations of the organisers and the police, and it took our group almost five hours to walk from our starting point in Park Lane to Trafalgar Square – by that time the rally in Parliament Square was long over, even if we’d been able to walk down Westminster to get there. Never have so many European flags been seen in London, as people not only protested against Brexit but also marched to show their support for the European project and appreciation of the benefits of working together with our European neighbours through the European Union.
The Withdrawal Agreement has now reached Parliament, and all eyes will be on the Commons on 11 December when the Meaningful Vote finally takes place. We will only know then if the march, and the different campaigns to stop Brexit have had an effect, and if a “People’s Vote” on the deal with an option to remain will be allowed to take place. However, whatever happens, it is clear that in one of the most Eurosceptic EU member states, a large pro-European movement has been borne, which will fight to stay as close as possible to the EU, regardless of the outcome of the vote on 11 December.