Patrick Stewart: People's Vote will let us be truly done with Brexit

Evening Standard Politics 1 month ago

I was there at the start of the People’s Vote campaign. I was there when hundreds of people poured into a venue in Camden to witness the launch of something special. At the time, although I wholeheartedly supported the aim of the campaign to secure a final say referendum on Brexit, I thought it was a long shot. We had the support of just a handful of MPs in Parliament, and many people who voted Remain in 2016 were increasingly resigned to the idea that Brexit would happen one way or another. 

But what happened that day in Camden lit the fire of something unprecedented in the long history of our great country. It helped create a huge, vibrant and fast-growing movement that did not exist on anything like the same scale even a few short years ago. 

This movement has taken something that started as a fringe idea, a People’s Vote to give the public the final say on Brexit, and has taken it into the heart of mainstream politics. We now have every opposition party as well as many Conservatives supporting the principle of a People’s Vote to solve the Brexit crisis.  

And it’s not just in Westminster where the campaign has had a huge impact. In every corner of the UK, both in areas that voted Leave and those which backed Remain, people from all walks of life are now demanding a People’s Vote. From campaigners handing out leaflets in their communities to activists setting up street stalls, to constituents lobbying their MPs to people persuading family and friends that a final-say referendum offers a genuine way forward, it is an inspiration to see such passion stirred in such dark times. 

We are now reaching a crucial moment in the Brexit crisis. The Government has adopted the slogan “Get Brexit Done” to try to browbeat an exhausted public into accepting whatever botched Brexit Boris Johnson presents to them but we know this slogan is a lie. 

If we allow Johnson and his cabal in Downing Street to drag us out of the EU this will be just the prelude to years of negotiations, years of rancour, years of not talking about any of the other important issues facing us, such as climate change, wealth inequality, education or the future of the NHS. Far from getting Brexit done, we will just get “done” by Brexit. 

But there is a solution. A People’s Vote would truly allow us all, one way or another, to be done with Brexit. Everyone should have the final say now that we know so much more about what Brexit means — and the result should be made binding on all participants. I hope it will mean the country deciding that, after all, we’d much rather stay in the EU with our friends than step out into the dark alone. 

That’s why I’ll be marching with countless others from Park Lane to Parliament on Saturday , and why I hope you’ll join me there. Together for the final say.

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