Mancunians join 700k protestors in London on march for second EU referendum

  • Nearly three quarters of a million people marched in London on Saturday
  • March to Parliament Square in support of People's Vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations
  • Northern Quota spoke to Manchester residents who took part

A convoy of people from Manchester joined more than 700,000 others from around the UK on Saturday to call for a second referendum.

The demonstration, called March for the Future, was to demand a ‘people’s vote’ on the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Catherine Moss from the People’s Vote arranged for coaches to transport people from the city to the capital to take part in the march.

Coach leaves from Manchester
Coach from Manchester to London Credit: Cath Moss

Cath said the march attracted an ‘unprecedented’ amount of popularity, with four coaches being sold out and a waiting list for those unable to get a seat.

“I initially thought we were taking a risk with booking two coaches,” she said. “It’s indicative of a change in mood and a critical time for us to send a message to MPs.”

“We have to do all we can.”

Cath said her biggest fear about Brexit was that many people would leave the UK as a result.

“We are going to lose a lot of good people,” she said, adding that moving away from EU law “removes a lot of the constitutional protections against extreme government”.

To me, the EU is all about peace

Pennie Roberts, a retired head of department at Manchester Metropolitan University, had similar concerns about what effect Brexit will have on peace.

She added that there was a “lack of understanding of European history” round the current debate.

Waiting for the coach
Protestors wait to board to coach to London. Credit: Cath Moss

Pennie often cycles in Europe and has noticed how easy it is to cross borders in Europe, a freedom somethng she oes not want her children and grandchildren.

“This is land people died for in previous generations,” she said.

I’d rather we wasted money talking with the EU than wasted money fighting

John Falch, a manager in the nuclear sector from Bolton, predicted dire consequences in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He said: “Food is going to run short in two days. At Christmas the shops close for two days, and what happens? The stores are flooded.

“No deal is absolutely catastrophic.”

Marching under a blue sky
The skies were clear as people marched   Credit: Cath Moss

Cath, Pennie and John argued that there was a lot of misinformation in the EU referendum two years ago, with John claiming the vote was based on “a pile of guesses and, in some cases, serious lies”.

Pennie said she felt anger and frustration at the claims made by the Leave campaign in the run-up to the referendum and wanted people to have a chance to “vote on the reality [of Brexit], not the fantasy”.

John said he had run a survey of 450, which included leave voters, and that “90% want a people’s vote”.


Flags for EU
Multiple flags were a theme throughout the march Credit: Cath Moss


Brexit: Is it worth it?
This was the biggest march since the Iraq War protest in 2003 Credit: Cath Moss

The People’s Vote is backed by celebrities such as Steven Coogan, who helped pay for the coaches from Manchester to London. He gave a speech at the March.

Mancunian comedian Chris Addison was also present on the day.

On the same day, at a Leave Means Leave rally organised by Nigel Farage in Harrogate, only a few hundred people reportedly turned up. 

Waiting for the bus in Manchester
Manchester residents boarded coaches at 6.30am          Credit: Cath Moss

Saturday’s march was the biggest protest since the Iraq war protest in 2003, which had an estimated 50,000 more participants.