Hundreds of thousands are set to march in London for a second Brexit referendum

Brexit bashers rally in London.
Brexit bashers rally in London.
Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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Hundreds of thousands are expected to turn up in London tomorrow (March 23) for the “Put It to the People March,” which calls for a second Brexit referendum. The rally comes just weeks before the UK is set to leave the European Union, on April 12 at the earliest, after the bloc agreed this week to a delay.

Protesters will assemble at Park Lane, in central London, before marching toward Parliament Square. The organizers have also raised heaps of money to manage the event, racking up 95% (as of this writing) of their £800,000 ($1 million) goal for staging and security.

The organizers held a similar rally in October that drew 700,000 (some put the tally closer to 450,000), making it the largest march in the UK since the 2003 Stop the War demonstrations over Iraq. They believe this weekend’s march could be even bigger than the earlier one.

While the march will be a major draw, it’s unlikely to have much impact on the Brexit process. Prime minister Theresa May remains steadfast in trying to win support for her unpopular Brexit deal, which has already been voted down in Parliament twice, most recently last week.

The opposition Labour party, which officially backs a second referendum if its own version of a Brexit deal is not taken up, last week abstained from a parliamentary vote on the matter for strategic reasons. The referendum amendment went 334 against to 85 for.

Tomorrow’s march comes ahead of a third meaningful vote on May’s Brexit deal expected next week, which is likely to again be shot down by Parliament despite the risk of a chaotic no-deal exit. The EU has agreed to a small delay until May 22, if Parliament takes the highly unlikely step of voting for May’s deal. If not, a shorter delay until April 12 is in order.

The rally could be the last chance for UK citizens to call for a “final say” on whether Brexit takes place. A recent poll by YouGov found that 61% of Brits would vote to stay in the EU over backing May’s Brexit deal. Respondents also prefer remaining in the EU to a no-deal exit, by a ratio of 57% to 43%.