Leaders from across the political spectrum will today (Tuesday) join people from across the country who voted Leave in 2016 for a rally in Westminster calling for the public to be given the final say on any Brexit deal.
Ahead of Wednesday’s crunch meeting of the European Council, where Theresa May is expected to ask for a longer Brexit deadline, the rally will be peppered with interventions from voters who backed the Leave campaign but now believe another public ballot is necessary.
The People’s Vote rally will hear from the former Speaker, Baroness Betty Boothroyd; Conservative MPs Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney-General, and Sam Gyimah, the former Universities Minister; Sir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats; Labour MPs David Lammy and Anna Turley; Independent Group MP Anna Soubry, the former Business Minister; Ian Blackford and Liz Saville Roberts, the SNP’s and Plaid Cymru’s Leaders in Westminster; as well as Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
They will say there is a growing consensus that an extension must allow for alternative proposals to be properly scrutinised - and not to exclude the prospect of a confirmatory referendum to make sure any deal has the support of the people.
But attention is likely to focus on the presence on the platform of Huw Merriman MP, a Conservative who supports the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, but who believes it can only command the confidence of Parliament and the country if it is backed by the British people in a new vote.
Mr Merriman, a Parliamentary Private Secretary and a member of the Government’s payroll vote, is expected to say:
“This is not only a political crisis but a national emergency. Whether you voted Leave or Remain in 2016, whether you want the Prime Minister’s deal, another deal or no Brexit at all, what is needed now is for MPs to come together in the national interest so we can deliver an outcome.
“I have fiercely opposed a second referendum. But I find myself here on this platform at this critical time for our country, because along with many more MPs on all sides of the House of Commons, I have reluctantly come to accept that the solution to the deadlock in Parliament is to let the people back into this decision.
“A wind of change of is blowing through this debate that can clear the way to a solution. A new vote is the way to deliver the clarity we need. A new vote – whichever way it goes – must be binding on our elected leaders. A new vote is the only way to ensure a lasting settlement for our politicians and for our country too.”