SOLD-OUT PEOPLE’S VOTE RALLY IN BIRMINGHAM DEMANDS “LET US BE HEARD” ON BREXIT - People's Vote

SOLD-OUT PEOPLE’S VOTE RALLY IN BIRMINGHAM DEMANDS “LET US BE HEARD” ON BREXIT

The Conservative former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine joins Labour MP Jess Phillips at a sold-out People’s Vote ‘Let Us Be Heard’ rally in Birmingham tonight (Tuesday) alongside legendary football commentator Clive Tyldesley and a host of other speakers.

At the rally in the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall, which has a capacity of one thousand people, Jess Phillips will talk about how she’s “sick of the Midlands and North being used as a rhetorical tool by people who probably think that Dudley and Birmingham are the same.” She will decry the “dangerous populism” of politicians “who would never live on a street in my constituency, yet they tell me I am the liberal elite from their holiday homes in the Cotswolds, or the house they have borrowed off their millionaire mates.”

Lord Michael Heseltine will talk about Birmingham as “the epicentre of the United Kingdom…Host to a society of people from all over the world, diverse faiths, varied cultures fused in tolerance, understanding and a common loyalty and purpose.” He will set out how he has “fought under the guidance of every Conservative leader since Sir Winston Churchill at the 1951 general election”, but warn that “Five million Conservative supporters voted remain in 2016. How many of them would vote for Boris Johnson today?”

Tonight’s event in Birmingham is just the latest in a series of rallies organised by the People’s Vote campaign across the UK, culminating in another huge march through central London on October 12. The full schedule of events can be seen here.  

 

Lord Heseltine, the president of the European Movement and a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, will say:

“I am proud to join you in Birmingham tonight. Why Birmingham? It is the epicentre of the United Kingdom. It is typical of the great cities that made this country what we are. The name itself is a world brand. Birmingham geographically is the heart of the United Kingdom but it is so much more than that. A massive industrial base. Excellence in so many fields. Host to a society of people from all over the world, diverse faiths, varied cultures fused in tolerance, understanding and a common loyalty and purpose.

“I have fought under the guidance of every Conservative leader since Sir Winston Churchill at the 1951 general election. Many of you here will be here from a different background.  From all parties and of none. I am fully aware from my postbag, from casual encounters that this is a genuine and proud cross party movement. Each of us feels the conflict of loyalties, the pain of division, the strain of friendship, the fracture of social relationships that this most divisive of issues has inflicted on our people. But despite our different backgrounds, we have found a common loyalty. In defence of our national interest. In defence of our United Kingdom. In defence of our younger generation’s future. In defence of British influence around the world. In defence of British power in moulding the future of Europe. In defence of our welfare and prosperity.

“Millions of our fellow citizens drawn from every corner of these islands, from every political party, from every part of our society share the convictions that have brought you here tonight. We will not be bullied. We will not be bribed. We reject the divisiveness, the bitterness with which Brexit has divided our country. Britain has never been just an off shore island outside Europe. We believe as British citizens, as British patriots - We are stronger, more prosperous, more powerful as a partner in Europe. This is the rock of our national self-interest. That is where we stand. Tonight. Tomorrow. With pride.”

 

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, will say: 

“People just want politicians to be straight forward and honest with them. We have seen so many lies that lead us to where we are and still today the idea of No Deal is a lie. No Deal is being sold as an end, a ripping off of the plaster to a nation desperate to move on. But it is nothing of the sort, negotiations, trade deals our future relationship will all still have to be agreed, including the Backstop even if we leave without a deal. So we are currently being governed by a group of people who would pour billions of pounds in to preparing for a calamity of their own making, risking the livelihoods of my constituents just to make a rhetorical point.

“I stand here as a Brummie who represents a working-class area and I am sick of the Midlands and North being used as a rhetorical tool by people who probably think that Dudley and Birmingham are the same. I am done with the working class versus the establishment rhetoric being spewed out to me by politicians who would never live on a street in my constituency, yet they tell me I am the liberal elite from their holiday homes in the Cotswolds, or the house they have borrowed off their millionaire mates. It is dangerous populism.

“They claim to be representing the will of the people but seem to be afraid to ask those very people what they think of these new plans. I have a deep faith in the British people, in my friends and neighbours. They think about the future and not their own electoral success. It is for this reason that now they must be in charge. We must put it to the people.”

/ends

 

Notes to editors:

Full text of the speeches by Jess Phillips MP and Lord Michael Heseltine are here (check against delivery):

 

Jess Phillips MP:

The day before the referendum vote three years ago, I came with my sons to a remain campaign event here at the university. The reason I am here today fighting for what I think is best for the future of our country I guess remains the same as it was then, the future that we are building for the next generation, for my sons. My youngest son Danny will turn 11 years old on the 30th of October this year. I cannot bear the thought that the very next day his future could radically change because some privileged egotists, made Prime Minister by less than 1% of the country, want to play a game of chicken with our lives. 

People just want politicians to be straight forward and honest with them. We have seen so many lies that lead us to where we are and still today the idea of No Deal is a lie. No Deal is being sold as an end, a ripping off of the plaster to a nation desperate to move on. But it is nothing of the sort, negotiations, trade deals our future relationship will all still have to be agreed, including the Backstop even if we leave without a deal. So we are currently being governed by a group of people who would pour billions of pounds in to preparing for a calamity of their own making, risking the livelihoods of my constituents just to make a rhetorical point.

I stand here as a Brummie who represents a working-class area and I am sick of the Midlands and North being used as a rhetorical tool by people who probably think that Dudley and Birmingham are the same. I am done with the working class versus the establishment rhetoric being spewed out to me by politicians who would never live on a street in my constituency, yet they tell me I am the liberal elite from their holiday homes in the Cotswolds, or the house they have borrowed off their millionaire mates. It is dangerous populism.

They claim to be representing the will of the people but seem to be afraid to ask those very people what they think of these new plans. I have a deep faith in the British people, in my friends and neighbours. They think about the future and not their own electoral success. It is for this reason that now they must be in charge. We must put it to the people.

 

Lord Michael Heseltine:

I am proud to join you in Birmingham tonight.

Why Birmingham?         

It is the epicentre of the United Kingdom.

It is typical of the great cities that made this country what we are. 

The name itself is a world brand.

It enjoys a political legacy associated with Joseph Chamberlain epitomising local pride, enterprise and partnership. A fusion of public and private endeavour that is at the core of my political philosophy.

Birmingham geographically is the heart of the United Kingdom but it is so much more than that.

A massive industrial base. 

Excellence in so many fields. 

Host to a society of people from all over the world, diverse faiths, varied cultures fused in tolerance, understanding and a common loyalty and purpose.

It is a city braced for the challengers of a shrinking more interdependent world.

I recognise that there will be many in this audience who have traditionally supported other than my Conservative Party.  I cannot remember a time when personal loyalties to the traditional pattern of left right, Labour Conservative have been so strained. 

I have only one voice, one experience, one set of historic memories, one philosophy to bring to the debate. That is a Conservative voice.

I have fought in every frontline political confrontation of the past seventy years.

I have fought under the guidance of every Conservative leader since Sir Winston Churchill at the 1951 general election.

This is not the background from which I would ever have expected to vote Liberal Democrat in the recent European Elections. 

But I am typical of millions of supporters of my party who will never support a policy to leave the European Union. Five million Conservative supporters voted remain in 2016. How many of them would vote for Boris Johnson today?

Many of you here will be here from a different background.  From all parties and of none. I am fully aware from my postbag, from casual encounters that this is a genuine and proud cross party movement. 

Each of us feels the conflict of loyalties, the pain of division, the strain of friendship, the fracture of social relationships that this most divisive of issues has inflicted on our people 

But despite our different backgrounds.  We have found a common loyalty. 

In defence of our national interest 

In defence of our United Kingdom

In defence of our younger generation’s future

In defence of British influence around the world. 

In defence of British power in moulding the future of Europe.

In defence of our welfare and prosperity.

For three years now we have argued our case.

The choice of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister has injected a new simplicity, a new ruthlessness, a new urgency into the debate.

Across the world British tradition of tolerance forged in heated debate in the mother of Parliaments is recognised and respected.

British law protects equally the richest and poorest of citizens of the United Kingdom and visitors from overseas.  Each of us is equal.

In the last few days something has changed. 

A cabinet culled of all balance, all debate, sworn to an extreme interpretation of the 2016 Referendum, bound to articulation based on unfounded and reckless optimism, unrealistic assertions, defended by evasion and bombast, blind to the world in which we live.

The delusion of Brexit forces its proponents into ever smaller circles and ever deeper holes.  It is as though our leaders have already cut themselves off from the leaders of the European Union and the rest of the world.

The government’s plans to borrow £100 million to fund what will in effect be a propaganda war. It will do more to undermine public confidence than create it.

It will stretch the loyalty and independence of the civil service perhaps to breaking point as they define the line between truth and party propaganda. 

Instead of making judgements based on facts, expert opinion and sound advice, the government retreats deeper into the caves of their own prejudice where they only hear their own voices - or voices like theirs - echoing back at them.

In their world, it is all a great adventure. In this world, the poor Europeans need us more than we need them. In this world, we only have to wave the club of no deal Brexit at Jonny foreigner for him to come back to heel.

Well, I say tonight, welcome to that real world.

A parliament opposed to no deal. 

The public opposed to no deal

The European union opposed to ripping up the withdrawal agreement.

The new government clinging to power with a gossamer-thin majority. 

The ranks of backbenchers behind the new Prime Minister filled with those he has sacked because they - like every right thinking MP and citizen of our country - oppose no deal.

The simplistic assertions of the new prime minister melt in the face of cold logic. 

There is no majority for no deal

There is no democratic mandate for no deal. 

There is no way that Boris Johnson can force his extreme Brexit on the British people without our permission.

Read today’s headlines – Boris Johnson can’t even sell his views to Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives let alone Nicola Sturgeon who commands a substantial majority in the Scottish Parliament.  Today he got another cold shoulder in Wales. 

Our former partners, Europe’s leaders, will read of Britain’s glorious freedoms to create new trade.

They will know that so successful was the minister responsible for negotiating all those promised trade deals that he was sacked last week.

They will wink knowingly to each other as they read the enthusiasm portrayed in some British newspapers for a “special relationship” deal generously masterminded by that great philanthropist, Donald Trump. 

In the meantime their colleagues will be on the phone to the motor manufacturers, Vauxhall, Nissan, Honda, their supply chains here in the Midlands offering generous relocation deals.

More of their colleagues will be on Eurostar to the City of London expounding the virtues of Paris, Frankfurt, Milan.

Perhaps Boris Johnson’s gamble is right.  In his world Europe’s leaders will be on the phone, pleading for another chance, begging forgiveness for the way they treated Theresa May.

I wouldn’t put my last pound on it.  However little is left of the pound at the end of this game of Blind man’s Bluff. 

I do not stand before you tonight to claim that we have won the war against the folly of Brexit.

What I do say is that with every passing day our chance of winning gets better.

There may yet be a general election. 

An election where the bogey of Jeremy Corbyn will be wheeled out in the traditional Reds under the beds campaign. Redder Reds and bigger beds. This will be the last throw of a campaign that has run out of any credible arguments for its own case. 

All the polling evidence supports the view that a Corbyn victory is incredible. 

The finest lawyers in the land and the bravest politicians in the House of Commons are working within the law and within the procedures of Parliament to protect or national interest.

Millions of our fellow citizens drawn from every corner of these islands, from every political party, from every part of our society share the convictions that have brought you here tonight.

We will not be bullied. 

We will not be bribed.

We reject the divisiveness, the bitterness with which Brexit has divided our country.

Britain has never been just an off shore island outside Europe.

We believe as British citizens, as British patriots -

We are stronger, more prosperous, more powerful as a partner in Europe. 

This is the rock of our national self-interest. 

That is where we stand. 

Tonight.

Tomorrow.

With pride.