Campaigners seeking a second referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union have announced plans to hold a Brexit protest the weekend before the scheduled departure date.
The “Put it to the People” march, organised by People’s Vote, will call for the public to be given a final say on any Brexit deal.
Its timing – on March 23 – follows suggestions that a deal may not be agreed until the eleventh hour.
Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29.
Pro-Remain MPs from across the Commons welcomed the announcement, with Tory former minister Anna Soubry saying there will be “nowhere for any MP to hide” come the final week of March.
She said: “There is now a real danger that this is going to go right down to the wire. The Prime Minister appears intent on holding the long-awaited meaningful vote as late as possible, in the hope of pressuring MPs into backing what they know is a bad deal.
“And Jeremy Corbyn appears happy to let the clock run down, rather than tabling Labour’s proposals or backing a People’s Vote.
“But come the final week of March there will be nowhere for any MP to hide, which is why this march could be of historic significance. Parliament will need a way out, and the demand will be loud and clear: put short term party politics aside, put Britain’s national interest first. Put it to the people.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable predicted “hundreds of thousands” of people would take to the streets to demand their voices are heard.
“The Government’s handling of Brexit has become a national humiliation. They, along with the Labour leadership, want to kick the can down the road, but people across the country will not stand idly by whilst they try to duck the biggest political decision in a generation. Crunch time is coming.
“I know that hundreds of thousands of people from right across the United Kingdom will take to the streets and join us in demanding that their voices are heard – that the only way forward out of this Brexit mess is through a People’s Vote.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford echoed the belief that the Prime Minister will wait until the final week to tell MPs we have to have a “bad or blindfold deal or accept ‘no deal’”.
He added: “It is a scandal and we will not accept it. Scotland voted to Remain and we will do everything we can to make sure that all the people of the four nations in the UK have the chance to have the final say on Brexit.
“I’ll be in the march, joining together with people from north and south of the border, in an act of national solidarity against this clear and present danger to all our futures.”
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas added: “This is High Noon for Brexit. This march is for all those who are concerned about the way politics is descending into chaos, and for those who feel let down by broken Brexit promises.
“Whether you’re worried about the damage caused by this deal or no deal, or you just want clarity and closure about our country’s direction – rather than years more of argument and division – join us. By working together, we can fix this mess.”