Marchers call for vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal at Ipswich pro-EU rally
PUBLISHED: 16:19 25 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 25 March 2018
G. CROUCHER OF CROUCHER PHOTOGRAPHY
Waving banners and carrying protest placards, hundreds of people marched along Ipswich's Waterfront today calling for the public to be allowed a say on the Brexit deal.
The Let’s Stay Together rally was organised as part of a nationwide pro-EU day of action by the Suffolk EU Alliance.
Organisers said they were delighted with the turn-out as the chanting marchers set off from outside the University of Suffolk – which included people from 11 sister organisations from Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
During the day a number of guest speakers were addressing supporters from stages both inside and outside the main campus centre.
Addressing the rally, Daisy Cooper – former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Suffolk Coastal – said: “The British public must have a say on the Brexit deal.
“People are rightly concerned that the Brexit negotiations are taking longer and are more complicated than anyone expected.
“News that the UK will likely be paying the Brexit ‘divorce bill’ until 2064, that the Government is making concessions at ‘supersonic speed’, and that EU health workers are leaving the NHS at an alarming rate means that people are starting to ask what the cost of Brexit really is.
“As new facts emerge, it is becoming increasingly clear that it should be the people, not politicians, who sign off the Brexit deal.”
Suffolk EU Alliance chair, Jules Ewart, said: “We’re unashamedly staging a series of short speeches from experts who will share their insightful experiences. An increasing number of us are exhausted by in-experts and so our myriad of speakers will make for interesting listening.
“Here we are, nearly two thirds of the way down the line from the triggering of Article 50 and we’re still none the wiser over exactly what it is the Brexit ‘cabinet’ wants us to ‘get behind’. Our speakers – experts, one and all – will explain the reality of our predicament.
“We openly welcome anyone who would like join us fight to retain our existing co-ownership of our continent of Europe.
“We are reiterating the need and advantages for our children and grandchildren to have the right to benefit from the opportunities that we have enjoyed, namely the right to study, work and retire anywhere in our wonderful and diverse continent.
“The irony is that a corrosive and rather fetid sector of British politics – across all parties – is intent on ripping us away from it and frankly we can’t stand back and allow this to happen. We are now the majority it seems and they, thankfully, are the few.”
She claimed Suffolk’s rural economy could suffer significantly without EU financial support.
She said: “It is an important agricultural region with so much to lose from a bad Brexit.
“Consider our amazing pig and poultry farming industry. Our farmers uphold the highest animal welfare standards and, as a result, the products they put on our plates are second to none. All this has been achieved while we’ve been within the EU.
“Should we welcome into our country the flavourless, hormone and anti-biotic injected meat products, sometimes drenched in chlorine and, and some, it is claimed, fed on animal excrement? Or are our East Anglian farmers and the secondary processing agri-industries that they support worth standing up for? We think they most certainly are.”
During the day people were able to meet Tim Evans of the alternative red bus – The Fact Bus – and hear his views on the cost of Brexit. Contrary to the claims during the referendum that Brexit will provide Britain with £350million a week to spend, Mr Evans fears leaving the EU could cost Britain £2billion a week.