John McDonnell will tomorrow (Saturday) join a massive rally in Parliament Square where protesters will demand that the people, not the powerful, have the final say on Brexit.
The Shadow Chancellor will speak from the People’s Vote platform on the same day as MPs will take part in crunch votes over Boris Johnson’s destructive hard Brexit plan.
His presence at the demonstration will send a signal to Labour MPs and supporters that his party is now uniting around support for a Final Say referendum and opposition to proposals that would destroy jobs and businesses.
Mr McDonnell said:
“I'm proud to stand with hundreds of thousands of people in demanding that they, not wealthy, privileged and out-of-touch hard-right Tory MPs, have the final say on what is an even worse deal than Theresa May's.
“Our policy is clear: Let the people decide.”
Huge numbers of people are expected to march from Park Lane to Parliament in one of the biggest and most important protests Britain has ever seen.
Boris Johnson is planning to be inside the gates of Parliament for an emergency debate on his Brexit. But the people – young and old, left and right, from every corner of the country – will be in Parliament Square outside to make their demand for the Final Say heard above the chaos.
Among them will be Pauline Hardman, a mother-of-four from the mining village of Ushaw Moor in County Durham who did not vote in the 2016 referendum and who will be travelling to London for the first time. She said:
“On Saturday, I'm going to London for the first time in my life to join the People's Vote march for the Final Say. Like many thousands of people in the North East, I want a better future and more opportunity for my children, and I don't think it's right that people like Boris Johnson get to force a damaging Brexit on this country without the people being given the final say.
“People in mining villages like mine are getting more and more worried about the damage Brexit will cause, we can see it's a million miles from what was promised back in 2016, we know this matters and we want to have our say.
“If you read the newspapers, you'd think that everyone in the North East thinks exactly the same way, that we all want Brexit whatever the cost, but that's not what I hear when I speak to my neighbours and friends. We know the facts of Brexit now, we know the damage it will cause and we know our part of the country will be hit first and hardest. The more we learn about Brexit, the more I see people changing their minds.”
Another marcher will be 97-year-old Brigadier Stephen Goodall, who served the British armed forces in the Far East during World War II and is travelling to the protest from his home in South Devon. He said:
“Nearly eighty years ago I fought to create peace, and on Saturday four generations of my family will march to keep that peace, to keep Europe together and to do the best thing for our country rather than what's best for short term politics.
“I'm 97 years old, my knees are knackered from playing rugby, and I'll be in a wheelchair, but as long as I'm still alive and kicking, I'll march to defend the democracy I've always fought to protect.”
Joanne Chapman is part of a group who have cycled from Sheffield to Brussels and will be getting back on her bike to get to London for the march on Saturday. She said:
“We're cycling to the Final Say march in London on 19th October because it's going to be a huge moment for our democracy. Whatever you think about Brexit, the version we're confronted with is a million miles from what was promised back in 2016, so it's only right the whole country has a final say.
“The People's Vote march will bring people together from all parts of the country to demand that their voice is heard. We're going the extra mile, cycling from Sheffield to London via Brussels, so we can call in and remind our European neighbours that Boris Johnson and his hard Brexit mob in Downing Street do not speak for many millions of people in this country.’
Sally Campbell, from the Scottish Creel Fisherman's Federation, caught the ferry from her home in the Isle of Arran at 7.40am ferry on Friday to make it down to London on time. She said:
“I'm working with lobster and scallop fishermen all over Scotland. These individuals rely on frictionless trade with Europe for their livelihood. The sustainably-sourced lobsters and scallops from the seas of Western Scotland are sold in Europe and transported live across the border. A hard Brexit of the kind being threatened could spell the end this traditional, environmentally friendly industry.
“Boris Johnson and his extreme Brexit mob in Downing Street are in a different universe from the independent fishermen of Scotland, they are deaf to our concerns and intent on delivering Brexit at all costs, whatever that means for communities like ours.
“That's why I'm going to London on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of other people who have been forgotten by this Government: we're going to march right up to the gates of Parliament, they'll have a hard time ignoring us then.”
They will be joined by political leaders from all parties who recognise that only the people can solve this Brexit crisis.
These include: Sadiq Khan; Jo Swinson; Michael Heseltine; Anna Soubry; Luciana Berger; Antoinette Sandbach; Chi Onwurah; Claire Hanna; Liz Saville Roberts; Joanna Cherry; Keir Starmer; Caroline Lucas; Ian Blackford; Emily Thornberry; Ed Davey, Layla Moran, Jess Phillips; Sam Gyimah; Dominic Grieve, David Lammy and Hilary Benn.
Speakers will also include Sir Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek who has been a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign since its launch in April last year, as well as Sandi Toksvig, the broadcaster and co-presenter of The Great British Bake Off.
Many protesters will arrive in a vast fleet of 172 coaches – the highest number yet for a People’s Vote march. The cost of a number of the coaches have been covered by supporters from the worlds of sport, business and entertainment.
- Delia Smith, the TV chef, who is paying for coaches from Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.
- Sir Patrick Stewart, the actor, is paying for a coach from Huddersfield.
- Peter Coates, the chair of Stoke City FC, is paying for coaches from Stoke-on-Trent.
- Joe Hemani, Chairman of tech firm Westcoast PLC and Vice President of Chelsea FC, has covered coaches from Bangor University.
- Armando Iannucci, the writer and director, is paying for coaches from Oxford.
- Natascha McElhone, the actor, is paying for a coach from Brighton.
- Jason Isaacs, the actor, is paying for a coach from Liverpool