A positive and inclusive campaign - Rebecca Coleman
Off the back of the most successful march in UK history, OFOC once again gathered in London to be part of the People’s Vote rally. As always, it was amazing to meet activists who had travelled from all over the country to be there, and the atmosphere was electric. This was not just amongst us sitting on the stage - soon the entire room reached standing only capacity, showing the determination of hundreds of activists to come and support our movement.
It’s a testament to how far the People’s Vote movement has come to look at the line-up of MPs and public figures that spoke to us. From Sam Gyimah MP, who gave up his red box over Brexit, to Anna Turley MP from Redcar, who refuses to harm her Leave constituency.
Party leaders, public figures, and even the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, all spoke to remind us that a People’s Vote is closer than ever before. The pinnacle for me was hearing from the indomitable Betty Boothroyd, whose stirring speech dedicated her fight to the young, for our rights and opportunities that we would be denied.
"It’s a testament to how far the People’s Vote movement has come to look at the line-up of MPs and public figures that spoke to us."
This was echoed from our own Athian Akec and Will Dry, whose speeches alongside those from FFS and introduction by Konnie Huq really hit home this impact. Being able to watch the clear support of the audience and speakers towards us as young people was one of my highlights from being up on the stage!
The rally also reminded me how proud I am to be part of such a positive and inclusive movement. The amount of people who stood up to reveal they had voted Leave but now had changed their mind (contra Piers Morgan) was incredible. And, whilst other rallies last month heckled MPs outside Parliament, calling them traitors, Huw Merriman MP was met with a standing ovation.
He openly spoke about his recognition that a People’s Vote is the only way to break the Brexit deadlock, whilst still supporting May’s deal. His courage and conviction to defy his party’s threat of the sack to come to the rally was inspiring.
With David Lammy MP’s final reminder that the People’s Vote is the only way forward, a mood of optimism was in the air as we look forward to this chance to have our say; first in the European elections, and eventually, a People’s Vote. As Betty Boothroyd reaffirmed, ‘we don’t duck democratic choices…we are not a nation of cowards.’
A People's Vote for All - Mark McVitie
Yesterday I was privileged to join a passionate audience packed into Westminster’s historic Church Hall to hear from a breadth of familiar speakers from across the People’s Vote campaign, including a couple of new additions whose contributions held a massive impact.
The crowd in the hall was in full voice right from the start of yesterday’s rally, as they cheered on the words of host Konnie Huq and laughed (nervously) at the mocked-up news report on the hopefully fictional, future ascension of ‘PM Boris Johnson’.
The room absolutely burst into rapture though when 89-year old Baroness Betty Boothroyd took the stage to deliver a rousing speech in support of a People’s Vote. The former Speaker delivered a pointed rebuke to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn in the style of a headmistress scolding wayward students, saying “Listen to me, both of you, Brexit isn’t working…it’s time to implement the solution… the solution called the People’s Vote!”.
The second new face to the campaign whose speech brought the hall to its feet, was PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Huw Merriman. Merriman delivered what felt like a true moment of evolution for the People’s Vote campaign when he announced his support for a public vote so that he can fight the leave side of the argument in the campaign.
This demonstrated the growing acceptance of the People’s Vote as a solution to the current parliamentary impasse, not just for those wishing to remain in the EU but for all sides aware that the Brexit stalemate cannot continue indefinitely.
In addition to this Merriman’s acceptance that his appearance might result in his sacking, saying “If that means that I use my voice and that I get fired for it then so be it”, showed a genuine political courage which was thoroughly deserving of the explosion of applause which it earned from a grateful and hopeful audience.
Mark McVitie is an activist for Our Future, Our Choice - follow him on Twitter