Cambridge anti-Brexit campaigners stage protest rally against the prime minster's decision to shut parliament
Hundreds of Cambridge anti-Brexiteers staged a 'Defend Democracy' rally in the market square last night (August 28) after prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed his plan to shut down parliament in a bid to force through a no-deal exit from the EU.
The rally was organised by Cambridge Stays in response to the PM’s decision to prorogue parliament in order to prevent MPs from voting to block a no-deal Brexit.
Around 400 people attended the rally outside the Guildhall and speakers included Lucy Nethsingha MEP, Rod Cantrill of Cambridge Liberal Democrats, local business leader Marcus Johnson, Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert, Jeremy Caddick of Cambridge Green Party, Huw Jones of South East Cambridgeshire Labour Party, as well as several members of the public who were keen to make their voices heard.
Paul Browne, Chair of Cambridge Stays, read out statements sent by Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, and Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire, who were unable to attend due to prior commitments.
Mr Browne said afterwards: “I was surprised and delighted by the very large number of people who joined us at such short notice, which shows how angry people in the Cambridge area are at the undemocratic actions of Boris Johnson, and how motivated they are to oppose him.
“The unity displayed across party political lines was especially encouraging, and exactly what we need right now!
“Today was a dark day for democracy in the UK, but those attending our rally and others like it across the UK have held up a thousand candles. Over the coming days and weeks we will continue to support our MPs as they hold the government to account, we will not let the government shut down our parliamentary democracy.
“There is no democratic mandate for a no-deal Brexit, and Boris Johnson knows that there is no majority for it in parliament either. His action in seeking to close down parliament is a desperate and dangerous one, and we believe that MPs and the people must unite to keep parliament open and prevent the dangerous no-deal Brexit he is taking the UK towards.”
Rod Cantrill, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Lib Dems, told the crowd: "If there was ever a time when we need our voice to be loud, for the young generation in this country, now is the time.
"Liberal Democrats will do whatever it takes to halt a no-deal Brexit. I give you this commitment, that I and every other Liberal Democrat will use every ounce of energy in our body to stop Brexit.
“If you believe in a country that is united and open and tolerant, I call on you to make your voice heard. The time for action is now."