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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
pro brexit

Brexiteers take to the streets of London in protest over leaving date delays

Britain was originally due to leave the European Union today.

Brexit Steve Parsons The March to Leave protesters make their way along the River Thames in London Steve Parsons

TODAY WAS BILLED by Brexiteers as ‘Independence Day’, the day Britain was due to leave the European Union. 

That was until Brexit was thrown into political turmoil on numerous occasions in recent months, with MPs unable to come to an agreement on deal. Today, MPs voted against British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement for a third time

With the continued uncertainty, thousands of Brexit supporters have today taken to the streets of London to protest outside the UK Parliament – some after completing a two-week 435-kilometre protest march from Sunderland in northeast England.

The two-week protest has been organised by March To Leave. 

“Come along to tell the establishment in London that we must leave and respect the referendum result,” it said on its website. 

Hundreds of protesters walked through the capital this afternoon, blaring the Queen hit I Want to Break Free from loudspeakers and waving Union Jack flags as the march neared its destination. 

Some demonstrators made their way to the parliament building via the banks of River Thames.

Today’s major protest comes as numbers of fiercely pro- and anti-Brexit demonstrators have kept up a constant presence in Westminster in recent months.

Hardline Brexiteers want Britain to leave the bloc now without any divorce deal in place, falling back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

At the other end of the political spectrum, London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched a campaign bus today emblazoned with the slogan “We are all Londoners”.

Brexit Steve Parsons Protestors making their way through London towards the UK Parliament Steve Parsons

Speaking ahead of today’s vote in the House of Commons, one protestor said: “Whatever happens today with Brexit, things will never be the same in the UK.” 

Another added: “I’m not going to have my country taken over by a dictatorship.” 

Britain was originally due to leave the EU at 11pm tonight. 

As the clock ticks down to that time, a number of bars and nightclubs in the remain-dominated London will kick off a host of Brexit-themed parties to celebrate the non-departure. 

Brexit Victoria Jones Brexit protestors in Parliament Square this afternoon Victoria Jones

Brexit Jonathan Brady Many of the protestors out in London today brought placards along with them Jonathan Brady

Third vote

This afternoon, Theresa May failed for a third time to get her withdrawal deal through the Parliament.

MPs voted against her deal by 344 votes to 286 votes – a majority of 58.

Now, there are very few options left to May going forward.

She must now go back to Brussels and seek a longer extension to Article 50, delaying Brexit for a much greater time period. Or the UK will now crash out of the EU on 12 April.

“Mr Speaker, I fear we are reaching the limits of the process in this house,” May told the House of Commons after the vote.

“This House has rejected no deal. It has rejected no Brexit. On Wednesday it rejected all the variations of the deal on the table. And today it has rejected approving the withdrawal agreement alone and continuing a process on the future.

This government will continue to press the case for the orderly Brexit tha the results of the referendum demands.

In light of the result, EU President Donald Tusk has decided to call a European Council meeting on 10 April. 

With reporting by AFP

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