A clutch of sporting legends will join leading Yorkshire politicians on Saturday in front of a packed crowd of 1,000+ to launch the People’s Vote North campaign and declare our region’s real voice must be heard in the Brexit debate.

The Leeds rally comes almost three years to the day since the last referendum and amid growing fears that if Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister he will inflict a destructive Brexit on the British people - and the North of England in particular - that was barely mentioned back in 2016.

World champion athlete, Steve Cram, former England footballers John Barnes and Peter Reid,  as well as former Leeds Rhino star Garreth Carvell, will help the launch of People’s Vote North, a new organisation designed to make sure our region’s real voice is heard in the debate over Brexit, challenge lazy caricatures and provide support to thousands of activists in the region campaigning for people to have the democratic right to have a final say referendum.


Loose Women panellist and former Coronation Street star, Denise Welch, said: 

“I live in the North because I love the North. And of the many reasons I am worried about Brexit is the fear I have that the North will be hit hardest. I am not an expert on politics or economics, but I talk to people all the time and I know I am not alone in being worried about the future. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone says it is undemocratic to ask people again. We didn’t have the facts. We didn’t have an honest debate. We now know so much more, and it is crazy not to check with people whether they still want to go ahead.”

The rally, held at New Dock Hall opposite Leeds Armouries at 12.30pm on Saturday, will be the first of 15 “Let Us Be Heard” demonstrations in towns and cities across the UK through a long summer of protests.

Each will vent democratic outrage that our country’s future will be decided by the 160,000 Conservative Party members - representing just 0.25% of the population - and mobilise those who feel their voice is being ignored by politicians hell-bent on imposing the hardest possible form of Brexit on the people.

But the impact of an extreme Brexit, or even a destructive No Deal, on the North will be front and centre of this event with Hilary Benn, the Leeds Central MP and chair of the House of Commons Brexit Committee, speaking from a People’s Vote platform for the first time.

His committee has previously published Government analysis of the grim impact a No Deal would have. The figures showed it would make:

  • The North East 16% poorer
  • The North West 12% poorer
  • Yorkshire & Humber 7% poorer 


Hilary Benn MP said: 

“On Saturday, we will come together to send a message that it would be a democratic outrage for a new Prime Minister to try and impose a destructive No Deal Brexit on the people of the North and the rest of the UK without us having the chance to be heard through a final say referendum. Going back to the people is the right thing to do and the only way to break the deadlock.”


Speakers will include:

  • John Barnes, former Liverpool and England footballer
  • Garreth Carvell, ex-British international and Leeds Rhinos Rugby League player
  • Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield and chair of Commons Environmental Audit Committee.
  • Peter Reid, former England and Everton footballer
  • Steve Cram, Olympic athlete and former world record holder
  • Sam Gyimah, the Conservative MP and former universities minister
  • Majid Majid, the former mayor of Sheffield and Green Party MEP
  • Ellie James, a young For Our Future’s Sake (FFS) campaigner


Ellie James, activist for the youth-led campaign group For Our Future’s Sake (FFS), said: 

“The North has taken lots of hits over the past few years, but we’re tough, realistic, intelligent people who know that our prosperity in the past has been based on looking out on the world as it changes, trading overseas and competing on the global stage. That means we collaborate, inspire and adapt with all sorts of communities. I am proud to be one of the many young people from the North carrying this message. We will be hit the hardest, for the longest by a disastrous No Deal that no one voted for. We are ready for the fight for our future and the futures of those following.”



Notes to Editors:

The Brexit committee’s publication of the economic impact of a No Deal is viewable here:


Operational details of the event in Leeds are as follows:


Date: Saturday 22nd June 2019


PUBLIC                11:30 for 12:30 start, finishes at approximately 13:30

MEDIA                Access from 10:30



Speakers will include:

  • Hilary Benn, Leeds Central MP
  • John Barnes, former Liverpool and England footballer
  • Hannah Barnham-Brown, NHS doctor
  • Majid Majid, Green Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber
  • Mary Creagh, Wakefield Labour MP
  • Peter Reid, former footballer and manager
  • Alex Sobel, Leeds North West MP
  • Sam Gyimah MP
  • Steve Cram, former Olympic athlete
  • Phil Wilson MP



New Dock Hall, Armouries Drive, Leeds, LS10 1LT

More details of further events in the ‘Let Us Be Heard’ campaign can be seen here: