MPs Phillip Lee and Matt Rodda join forces for anti-Brexit protest in Reading

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NEW LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP Dr Philip Lee took part in a cross-party anti-Brexit protest march in Reading town centre on Saturday. 

The Bracknell MP was joined by Reading East Labour MP Matt Rodda and candidates Imogen Shepherd-DuBey (Lib Dem) and Rob White (Green Party), as well as representatives from the Women’s Equality Party. The only party not to take part was the Conservatives. 

Each of the MPs, plus various members of Berkshire In Europe, made speeches in support of a second referendum to loud applause from the 200-strong crowd. A drinker in the nearby O’Neill’s pub heckled. 

Afterwards, Dr Lee and Mr Rodda were both mobbed by supporters keen to pose for selfies or shake hands. 

Mr Rodda said: “Today’s march and speeches were really impressive. There was a strong turnout from people from Reading and across Berkshire. It was a real pleasure to welcome Phillip Lee as the Bracknell MP to Reading town centre and also other colleagues in different political parties. 

“We all share the same concerns that we are deeply opposed to a no-deal Brexit and we want to stop it and we’re working together to try and achieve that aim.”

Brexit protest Reading
Anti-Brexit protest in Reading town centre Saturday, September 7, 2019, attended by Dr Phillip Lee, Matt Rodda, Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Rob White, Louise Tomlin, Berkshire in Europe

He added: “I hope that I made clear my very strong opposition to damaging no-deal exit. And I believe strongly in working with other countries and in tolerance and diversity and in the benefits of the EU to people locally such as the jobs and the number of people who are working in the public sector, like the Royal Berkshire Hospital who come from EU countries.”

Mr Rodda said that he wanted a General Election but a no-deal Brexit must be averted first. 

“Jeremy Corbyn puts it beautifully this week when he compared the possibility of an election before October 31 to Snow White being offered a poisoned apple. 

“It is a trick. It’s poisonous. And what Boris will probably try to do if he achieves his aim iss to somehow use it to allow Britain to crash out of the EU on the 31st of October. 

“I’m very much in favour and election as soon as possible, so I would like that to be at a time when it doesn’t lead to a hard Brexit.”

Brexit protest Reading
Anti-Brexit protest in Reading town centre Saturday, September 7, 2019, attended by Dr Phillip Lee, Matt Rodda, Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Rob White, Louise Timlin, Berkshire in Europe

And Louise Timlin, who represents the Women’s Equality Party in Wokingham, said: “People have turned out today at really short notice and I think it really shows the passion that people have on this topic. 

“We’re not going to allow a no-deal Brexit to be railroaded through, it’s not what the public want. They want an opportunity to have another vote and say what they really think. 

“The fact is that we’ve got all the different political parties, with the exception of Conservatives here today working together, we’ve got other organisations and just members of the general public who feel passionately about this.

“We’ve got to send a message to Johnson to say that they can’t do this [no-deal Brexit] to us. We won’t allow it.”

Brexit Reading
Anti-Brexit protest in Reading town centre Saturday, September 7, 2019, attended by Dr Phillip Lee, Matt Rodda, Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Rob White, Louise Timlin, Berkshire in Europe

Ms Tomlin felt that new evidence that had come to light in the wake of the 2016 referendum meant that a second vote, rather than a General Election, was needed. 

“There was enough anecdotal evidence from people who voted to leave who now want another side,” he explained. “They feel that they were given the wrong information. They feel that they were lied to. 

“I also feel that three years later, we have a generation of teenagers who now are eligible to vote, who didn’t get a say, and this is going to really impact their lives. If, the Leave voters believe that they are right and the referendum result will be the same again, and let’s all have another referendum and then we have to respect the results of it. 

“If we’re all given the truth about all the different options and we vote based on the truth, we have to respect the outcome. But I don’t believe that people were given the truth in the previous referendum.”

NEW LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP Dr Philip Lee took part in a cross-party anti-Brexit protest march in Reading town centre on Saturday.
Anti-Brexit protest in Reading town centre Saturday, September 7, 2019, attended by Dr Phillip Lee, Matt Rodda, Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Rob White, Louise Tomlin, Berkshire in Europe

Earlier this week, Wokingham Conservatives MP Sir John Redwood criticised those who brought in the parliamentary bill, blocking the UK from crashing out of the EU on October 31. 

He wrote: “The Remain side claims anything the government does is undemocratic, yet pushes and shoves our constitution in ways designed to curtail debate and thwart the wishes of the majority in the referendum.

“The Commons then refused to vote for a new Parliament. A Remain Parliament wishes to disagree with the referendum majority and deny voters the opportunity to do anything about it.”

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