Anti-Brexit protesters are gathering in London to call for a second referendum on Britain’s departure from the bloc, less than six months before the divorce from the European Union becomes a reality.
Demonstrators from across the country on Saturday are demanding a “people’s vote” to give the public the final say on the UK’s political future.
The event intends to amplify the voices of British voters increasingly frustrated about the perilous state of negotiations between the UK and EU, and is organised by the People’s Vote coalition of anti-Brexit campaign groups and the Independent newspaper.
“This week’s fresh chaos and confusion over Brexit negotiations has exposed how even the best deal now available will be a bad one for Britain,” said Andrew Adonis, People’s Vote campaigner and Labour Party politician.
“Voters will neither forgive nor forget if MPs allow this miserable Brexit to proceed without people being given the final say.”
Senior politicians from all major parties will speak at the rally, including London mayor, Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Liberal Democrats’ leader Vince Cable, as well as celebrities such as former England footballer Gary Lineker and TV chef Delia Smith.
The demonstration comes as talks between the UK government and EU have reached an impasse. This week, EU leaders dropped plans for a special summit in November, citing a lack of progress in negotiations.
Figures on both sides have now suggested that a worst-case “no deal” scenario is now the most likely.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said a withdrawal deal was 90 percent agreed, but a solution to the thorny issue of Ireland’s border remains no closer than when talks began.
“I’m convinced a deal is necessary, I’m still not sure we’ll get one,” he told France Inter Radio on Friday.
Without a deal to cement the UK’s planned 21-month transition period, it would crash out of the EU and its customs union on March 29, 2019, with a government analysis predicting a 10 percent drop in GDP in a no-deal scenario.
Ports and airports would be thrown into chaos, potentially destabilising the country’s food supply.
Anti-Brexit campaigners say voters were misled when they voted by a 52-48 margin to leave the EU in June 2016, and that the Leave campaign’s promises to increase funding for the country’s health service and strike more favourable trade deals with non-EU countries were dishonest.