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Alastair Campbell chaired the event in the Ulster Hall.
Alastair Campbell chaired the event in the Ulster Hall.
Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

'We’ve had enough of blood red lines': Hundreds gather in Belfast to demand second Brexit vote

A meeting in the Ulster Hall was attended by a range of anti-Brexit politicians.
Sep 14th 2019, 5:15 PM 27,186 18

Hundreds gathered in Belfast today to oppose Brexit and Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament. 

Organised by the People’s Vote campaign, which has been calling for a second referendum on EU membership, the meeting in the Ulster Hall heard from various speakers the damaging consequences of Brexit. 

Northern Ireland, set to be worst-hit by Brexit, has been at the centre of negotiations as the UK and the EU have clashed over the border and the backstop. 

Hundreds of people turned out at the end of a dramatic week in the UK, where the highest civil court in Scotland had found that Johnson had misled the queen over his reasons for suspending parliament and the prime minister failed – for the second time – to persuade parliament to back an early election. 

Speakers at the event today include Tory rebel Dominic Grieve and former Labour communications chief Alastair Campbell, who has been an ardent campaigner against Brexit. 

The SDLP’s Claire Hanna and Green Party leader Claire Bailey also addressed the Ulster Hall.

Alliance Party leader and MEP Naomi Long, who also spoke today, warned that Brexit would be “catatstrophic” for Northern Ireland. 

brexit The SDLP's Claire Hanna spoke today. Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

“My message as MEP has been that the UK is now in serious political crisis. That Johnson’s objective is to blame the UK parliament and the EU. Don’t be part of his plan. Give us the extension. Hold the prime minister’s feet to the fire and make him negotiate,” she told the crowd.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Hanna, whose party has opposed Brexit, said that it is “profoundly undemocratic to attempt to force a wretched no deal on the people without their democratic consent”. 

“We’ve had enough of blood red lines in Northern Ireland,” Hanna said today. 

Grieve, who had the Tory whip withdrawn for voting against the government on Brexit, told the audience that the DUP were making a mistake by tying themselves to the Conservatives. 

The People’s Vote campaign will organise another rally on London on 19 October, days before the UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU. 

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Dominic McGrath

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