Organisers of the Put it to The People March have been taken aback by the numbers of people signing up for the demonstration from Leave-voting areas.
Coaches have been filled for the march from Chesterfield, Doncaster, Lincoln, Peterborough, Stoke and Sunderland, which all voted to leave the EU by heavy margins in 2016, Several coaches are also travelling from across leave voting counties, including: Cornwall, Cheshire, Lancashire, and from across Wales. In all more than 150 coaches have already been booked to bring people from across the UK to London for the march on Saturday 23rd March.
Their passengers will be among hundreds of thousands of people from every corner of the country uniting behind a single demand for the public, not the politicians, to have the final say on Brexit.
Daniel Laycock, an accounts manager, will be travelling to the march from leave voting Peterborough.
He says: “I voted to Leave in 2016 based on comments that doing so would lead us to become an even more independent country. But I’ve changed my mind, after seeing how devastating Brexit’s impact has been all around the country and especially in my local constituency where wages are now stagnant. Also because of how chaotic and depressing the whole process has been.
“I support a People’s Vote because it should be us, the same people who voted in 2016, who actually get a chance to cast a view on what leaving really is. I want the option to stay on the ballot so that there is a chance now to keep the same rights and benefits we’ve always had.”
Emma Knuckey is travelling from leave-voting Essex with her young family.
She says: “As ashamed as I am to say it, it was the big NHS bus that drove me to vote leave. I had thought we would be staying in the Single Market and that there would be unchanged status for Europeans in the UK. So I was scared the next day when MPs and MEPs started saying their messaging had been ‘a mistake’ or ‘misunderstood’. I even wondered if the result would hold.
“I’m coming to the march to demand a People's Vote because I don’t want millions of people paying for my mistake. Seeing so many people who did not get a say in this be so affected is horrific. The younger generation who will live the longest with the result deserve to have a say.”
But Edmund Sides is refusing to take the easy way to London. Instead, he is walking to the march from Swansea, a city that also voted for Brexit. by He left Swansea on 7th March. His route will take him through Swindon, which also voted leave, but has been hit by the news that Honda plans to shut its factory with the loss of thousands of jobs.
Edmund Sides said: “I am walking to draw attention to the Put it to the People March, which is the last best chance we all have to step back from the Brexit brink and work together. Personally, I am someone who avoids confrontation and seeks compromise and we have all seen how Brexit has polarised the debate.
“During my walk I will be talking to people along the way, there will be plenty of time for it! If we do have a People’s Vote we need to discuss and debate the actual underlying concerns and fears of many in the country in a calm and rational manner so that everyone in the country can come together to solve these problems and move on from the divisions that Brexit has caused in our families, workplaces and communities.”
A team of cyclists are riding their bikes all the way to London from leave-voting Sheffield.
Sheffield cyclists, Jane Thomas and Joanne Chapman, said: “Too often, the London media present everything north of the Watford Gap as if we’re all obsessed with closing our borders and closing our minds.
“Now that it’s clear how so many of the promises made for Brexit on trade deals or extra money for the NHS from Europe have been broken, more and more of us are concluding it’s only fair to put Brexit back to the people.
“We are riding down to London through areas which voted to leave but will be amongst the hardest hit by Brexit and we would urge anyone who cares about the future of the UK to get down for the march on March 23 and show they care.”
People travelling from Penzance in Cornwall - which voted for Brexit by 57% to 43% - face one of the earliest starts, leaving at 3.50am. A coach from Edinburgh will be travelling overnight to London.
But those travelling from the Highlands and Islands face the longest journey – starting out from Inverness at 8pm the previous day, Friday 22nd. Campaigners from Wandsworth, Merton and Lambeth in south London got together to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for a coach to get people to the march from the Scottish Highlands. In just a few days they raised all the £2,500 needed to pay for 2 drivers to cover the 12-hour journey and are now helping to pay for more coaches.
Campaigners in Bath and Bristol have chartered a train to get people to the march. More than 600 tickets for the People’s Vote Express have already sold out so extra coaches are now being hired.
Some of the 150 coaches being used to get marchers to London will be sponsored by local celebrities, including, actors Steve Coogan (Manchester), Jason Issacs (Liverpool), Natsascha McElhone (Brighton), Sir Patrick Stewart (Yorkshire), writer and director Armando Iannucci (Oxford), and TV Cook and Director of Norwich City Football Club, Delia Smith (Norwich).
Many Britons living abroad are also planning to travel home to take part in the march, including from Australia, the US, Malaysia, Africa and hundreds from across the EU.
The government is still desperately trying to secure the backing of Parliament for its heavily criticised Brexit plan and the mass demonstration in London takes place just days before the UK is scheduled to leave to the European Union.
The event, beginning at 12pm – “High Noon” - on Park Lane on March 23, will see people march to Parliament Square for a mass rally and keynote speeches.
Young and old will be walking side by side, through the centre of London, including families pushing buggies, grandparents, teenagers, students, office workers, celebrities and Members of Parliament.
The last People's Vote march on October 20th was one of the biggest protests London has ever seen. The march on Saturday the 23rd is also shaping up to be huge with the total number of sign-ups already exceeding those for the last demonstration.
Notes to Editors
For more information, or for interview bids, please contact:
The March will begin at High Noon - 1200 Hrs - from Park Lane. Attendees must use Marble Arch and Bond Street tube stations to gather before the march sets off towards Parliament Square.
More information about the Put It To The People march can be found here: