The Wokingham Paper

PEOPLE’S VOTE MARCH: Pictures taken by Wokingham folk in London on Saturday, March 23

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READING EAST MP Matt Rodda was one of the speakers at a rally designed to change the Prime Minister’s mind on Brexit.

Mr Rodda spoke at the Put It To The People march in London on Saturday, setting out why he felt a second referendum was necessary on Brexit, days before the UK was meant to be leaving.

And he joined members of Berkshire For Europe at Reading’s railway station on Saturday, March 23 before heading to the capital to take part in the event, which is considered to be the largest-ever protest held in the country.

Protesters came from all over the country to have their say, but actual numbers are uncertain. Organisers say that more than a million took part, but other estimates place it around 400,000. Crowds could be seen around Parliament, Piccadilly and Hyde Park.

Mr Rodda said: “I was pleased to be show my support for a second referendum by joining the People’s Vote March on Saturday.

“A large number of people attended from Reading and Berkshire, including many from Caversham, Reading and Woodley.

“There was a very positive atmosphere at the march and an amazing turnout.”

Dr Phillip Lee, the MP for Bracknell, also took part.

Afterwards, he tweeted: “The march was politics at its best: people expressing views peacefully and without rancour or aggression. It was an honour to address the crowd. Thank you to the organising team and everyone who attended.”

And member of Wokingham For Europe – a group that has, in recent weeks, organised bridge protests and impromptu opinion polls – were also out in force.

Group member Vanessa Rogers said: “The March was so good natured and even joyful.

“Despite our overwhelming sense of sadness, frustration and deep anger at an advisory referendum won based on lies, false promises, even cheating and corruption, we’ve kept our temper, forbidden abuse at every level, kept our criticism measured and been mostly self-funding activists trying to change people’s minds with truthful arguments and reason.

“All we want is for our country to be part of a peaceful union with our European neighbours to be prosperous as part of the largest trading bloc in the world into which we were intricately entwined after over 45 years of interconnecting threads on every level – cultural, political, economic, environmental, industrial.

“But most of all, we want our country back – that kind, tolerant, open, flexible, multicultural sovereign nation we once were renowned for being and who we still are underneath but which has been marred and temporarily contaminated by nostalgic, nationalistic populism and self- exceptionalism which must be put back in the box in which it once resided and closed forever.

“We must be proud to be British and European and move forward in a modern world.”

Sir John Redwood, a staunch Brexiter, appeared on BBC News during the march.

He has also written daily blogs setting out his views on Europe, including one where he noted that Parliament was at verbal war with the people over its decision not to leave Europe tomorrow with no deal.

“An EU study has showed practically no gain from EU membership for the UK economy,” he has since said.
And Maidenhead MP Theresa May, in her role as Prime Minister, has championed the deal she has brokered with the European Union.

In Parliament on Monday, she said: “The alternative [to her deal] is to pursue a different form of Brexit or a second referendum.

“But the bottom line remains: if the House does not approve the withdrawal agreement this week and is not prepared to countenance leaving without a deal, we would have to seek a longer extension.”

A pro-Leave rally took place in London on Friday, March 29, we have asked if anyone from Wokingham borough has taken part but organisers have not responded to our requests; no readers have replied to our requests on social media. If you were at the rally we would love to hear from you – email news@wokinghampaper.co.uk

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