Organisers hail UK’s ‘biggest-ever demo’, while Tom Watson leads calls for fresh referendum
Toby Helm and Michael Savage
Sat 23 Mar 2019 23.26 GMT, The Guardian
In one of the biggest demonstrations in British history, a crowd estimated at over one million people yesterday marched peacefully through central London to demand that MPs grant them a fresh referendum on Brexit.
The Put it to the People march, which included protesters from all corners of the United Kingdom and many EU nationals living here, took place amid extraordinary political turmoil and growing calls on prime minister Theresa May to resign. Some cabinet ministers are considering her de facto deputy David Lidington as an interim replacement for her, although as pro-Remain he would be strongly opposed by Brexiters.
Organisers of the march said precise numbers had been difficult to gauge, but they believed the protest could have been even bigger than that against the Iraq war in February 2003.
The decision by so many to take part, waving EU flags and banners and carrying effigies of Theresa May, came just three days after the prime minister said in a televised statement to the nation that she believed the British people did not support another referendum, and blamed MPs for trying to block their will.
Senior politicians from all the main parties joined the march, including Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, former Tory deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the SNP leader and first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
Addressing the crowd in Parliament Square – as chants of “Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?” rang out – Watson said May could not ignore the march and had to give the people a second vote. “The prime minister claims she speaks for Britain. Well, have a look out of the window, prime minister,” he said.