The People’s Vote Summer of Action lifts Cambridge crowd

PUBLISHED: 16:47 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:47 06 September 2018

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner speaking at the People's Vote rally at The Junction.  
Picture: Richard Marsham

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner speaking at the People's Vote rally at The Junction. Picture: Richard Marsham

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Remainers at The Junction demand new Brexit ballot

Compere Mitch Benn speaks at the People's Vote rally at The Junction.  
Picture: Richard MarshamCompere Mitch Benn speaks at the People's Vote rally at The Junction. Picture: Richard Marsham

Around 800 pro-EU campaigners were at The Junction on Sunday to hear speakers including Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, plus Lord Adonis, make the case for a new referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

The rally was part of the Summer of Action organised by People’s Vote, an umbrella group of nine organisations including Open Britain and the European Movement.

As well as the two MPs, speakers included Chloe Donovan of For Our Future’s Sake (FFS), Amatey Doku of the National Union of Students and representatives from St Albans for Europe, Cambridge Stays, Norfolk for Europe, Ely for Europe, the Suffolk EU Alliance and Open Britain Peterborough.

The rally in Cambridge followed similar events in Bristol, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and this Saturday (September 8) there will be a rally in Cardiff, followed by the People’s Vote March for the Many in Liverpool on September 23.

Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson of For Our Futures Sake (FFS) at The Junction.  
Picture: Richard MarshamAmanda Chetwynd-Cowieson of For Our Futures Sake (FFS) at The Junction. Picture: Richard Marsham

“The Cambridge event was largely organised by Open Britain Bury St Edmunds,” says People’s Vote press officer Barney Scholes. “The idea was to have an event in the East of England which included young people campaigning, and those like Dr Ian Chapman who works in the NHS.

“The most democratic way ahead, with Parliament in a mess over Brexit and negotiations with the EU paralysed, is for people to have a vote – people shouldn’t be shut out of the process.”

Standard Issue journalist Hannah Dunleavy was one of the speakers.

“It was a very good-natured event, the crowd was very positive and enthusiastic,” she says, “and people had come from a wide area which is good because Cambridge is so ‘remain’ sometimes you think ‘it’s just us’, but some had come from Ipswich and Great Yarmouth, which is the most ‘leave’ place ever.

Lord Andrew Adonis speaks at The Junction.  
Picture: Richard MarshamLord Andrew Adonis speaks at The Junction. Picture: Richard Marsham

“The speakers weren’t out of bounds either, and people wandered up and talked to those who’d been on stage.

“What genuinely surprised me was how wide the age range was, both on stage and in the audience, so that punctured the idea that it’s young versus old as well.”

Food was provided by local food firms – and People’s Vote supporters – Fired Up Pizza, Meatless and Cafe Mobile. Music was provided by Joff Whitten – at lunchtime – and the Black Cortinas after the speeches, which were concluded by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner who said: “Be ready, it’s going to happen!”

The actual sequencing of another referendum, however, is uncertain.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable at the People's Vote rally in Cambridge.  
Picture: Richard MarshamLiberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable at the People's Vote rally in Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham

“The date is dependent on circumstances,” comments Mr Scholes. “It could be when the government brings a Brexit deal back, or if there’s no deal.”

The timing of that would make the logistics of the vote tricky, but Mr Scholes says that “there is capacity for an extension to Article 50 under the Lisbon Treaty”.

Even then, however, the specifics of the vote have yet to be determined.

“My preference on the ballot paper is a vote between a government deal and remaining in the EU,” comments Mr Scholes, “though [Conservative MP] Justine Greening favours a three-way vote.”

This option would mean a ballot choice between the government deal, no deal, and staying in the EU.

“I prefer a straight option as a no-deal verdict would be such a disastrous outcome it would be irresponsible,” says Mr Scholes, adding: “It was an inspiring event, and its timing was perfect to feature in reports on the BBC and ITV evening news. On the same day that Theresa May ruled out a new referendum on the Brexit deal, host Mitch Benn reminded those attending that she also ruled out an early general election early last year, and we all remember what happened next.”

The next national march will take place in London on October 20.

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