Hundreds gather in Leeds for protest calling for end to Brexit

“Let’s stay together” – main motto of the demonstration.

By Paweł Kuziemski

Hundreds of people marched in Leeds on February 14 calling for an end to Brexit.

The protest was organised by Leeds for Europe.

Protesters wanted the government to overturn Brexit and put it to another referendum.

Richard Wilson, chairman of Leeds for Europe, said: “We want to create a positive vision of Britain without Brexit, so we are talking stop Brexit and let’s talk about uniting the country behind the programme of change that we really need.”

After the march, several speakers warned about the consequences of Brexit and called on the government to listen to calls for a new “people’s vote”.

Speakers emphasised the role of young people, who couldn’t vote in the 2016 referendum.

Natalie Bennett, the former leader of Green Party, was amongst those who took part in the protest.

She told Yorkshire Voice: “People need to see people like themselves, up there on platforms speaking in front of crowds”.

Beginning of Brexit

The referendum held in June 2016 was non-binding, which means that the government didn’t have to follow its results. However, the government had promised to implement the result.

The question was simple: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

More than 70% of UK citizens answered that question. Nearly 52% of voters said that they want to leave.

The day after the referendum’s results David Cameron announced his resignation from Prime Ministers, as a campaign for remaining turned out to be unsuccessful.

Current size of the European Union

The government initiated the official EU withdrawal process on March 29 2017, putting in place a process which meant that the UK was due to leave the EU before 11pm on March 29 2019.

Independence on table

The majority of people in Scotland and Northern Ireland wanted to remain; however, the number of votes given by Scottish and Northern Irish citizens were too low to influence the final decision.

In January 2017 the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom decided that agreement from the parliaments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were not necessary to trigger Brexit.

Nevertheless, the Scottish Parliament took a symbolic vote in which it rejected Brexit.

The day after the decision about Brexit was made, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister said that the option of another independence referendum “must be on the table”.

“If Parliament judges that a second referendum is the best or only way to protect our place in Europe it must have the option to hold one,” she added.

Remainers won in every voting area of Scotland.

Timeline of the UK in European Union:

May 1950Schuman Declaration – Robert Schuman announced his plan of coordinated production of steel and coal.

April 1951Treaty of Paris – The beginning of the European Coal and Steel Community, the first modern European economic organisation. The UK declined to join, as it was afraid of losing its independence.

March 1957Treaty of Rome – the actual beginning of the European Community. The UK did not join because of this same reason.

May 1960 – The UK was one of seven countries to found the European Free Trade Association to promote closer economic cooperation and free trade in Europe.

January 1963 – France vetoed the first UK’s application to the European Community.

October 1967 – France vetoed the second UK’s application to the European Community.

January 1973 – The UK became an official European Community member.

June 1985 – Official beginning of the Schengen Agreement, a treaty that led most of the European countries towards the abolition of their national borders, to build a Europe without borders known as the Schengen Area.

February 1992Treaty on European Union – the formal beginning of the European Union.     

December 2007Treaty of Lisbon, known as the Reform Treaty – changing the basics of the European Union.

Voice of young people

A big controversy was also raised by the fact that the referendum did not include teenagers aged 16 and 17.

After the result of the referendum was announced a crowd of young people gathered outside the Houses of Parliament.

As it was reported by Lord Ashcroft Polls, among people aged 18 – 25, more than 70% voted to remain in the EU, and among people aged above it was 40%.

What Europe said

Marine Le Pen,  the leader of France’s right-wing National Rally party, said that Brexit may be a starting point for other countries to leave the European Union.

This opinion was also shared by the Dutch Party of Freedom. Further, it was supported by German’s Alternative for Germany, which, in 2019, posted the idea of Dexit.

The Spanish foreign minister said that in the case of Brexit Spain will seek to regain control over Gibraltar.

Currently, negotiations with the European Union are in flux.

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