Residents from Lambeth joined a march in central London today calling for a people’s vote on Brexit.
Organisers of the “Put it to the People” campaign estimate that more than a million people turned out. The march began in Hyde Park and went through Piccadilly and Whitehall before finishing at Parliament Square.
At the start of the march we spoke to campaigners from Lambeth for Europe, a cross-party pro-European group. Founder Heather Glass lives in Brixton Hill and set the group up within a week of the 2016 EU referendum. She said “there is a strong sentiment about the disinformation of the Leave campaign which is an insult to the open values of Lambeth.” The borough had the highest proportion of Remain voters in the UK in 2016, with 78.6% wanting to remain in the EU.
Ms Glass spoke of the evolution of Lambeth for Europe’s campaign stance. Initially the group focused on securing a ‘softer’ style exit from the EU and “the best Brexit we can.” However, as the clock has run down Ms Glass believes it is hard now to see what options are left and wants parliament to vote to revoke Article 50. She said “revocation is the only option that allows us to take back control of Brexit.”
Campaigner Fiona Mackenzie said that the group had been canvassing across the borough to drum up interest in the march. She described the response as “incredible”, with over 120 people signing up to attend. Yesterday the group leafleted outside Waterloo station with MP for Streatham, Chuka Umunna.
Ms Mackenzie lives in Vauxhall and runs a FinTech company in the borough. She expressed concern that workers within her industry had already decided to leave the UK as a result of Brexit.
Originally from Scotland, Ms Mackenzie was instrumental to the success of a crowdfunding project that enabled pro-European Scottish groups to attend the march. Lambeth for Europe in conjunction with the European Movement in Wandsworth and Merton helped raise over £2,500 that provided transport from Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, Helen Hayes, also attended the march and walked with local Labour Party members.
The UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March and today’s event was scheduled with that date in mind. The deadline has since been extended. An online petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked has now been signed 4.3 million times making it the most popular petition ever to be submitted to the Parliament website.
You can find out more about Lambeth for Europe on their website.