Thousands of activists, politicians and celebrities will take to the streets of London today to make an extraordinary appeal for a second Brexit referendum.
MPs from all parties will put aside their differences to demand a People’s Vote on the final deal, in what is expected to be the largest anti-Brexit demonstration to date, with speeches from household names such as Delia Smith, Deborah Meaden and London mayor Sadiq Khan.
More than 1,000 young activists will lead the march, organised with The Independent as part of its Final Say campaign, which aims to demonstrate the anger of young people who will be hit hardest by the decision to leave the EU.
Writing in The Independent, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, 75, and youth campaigner Femi Oluwole said it was time for all sides to accept that young people have been “forsaken” by the older generation.
In a joint piece, they said: “The march is a demonstration of young people’s anger that their futures have been unnecessarily compromised.
“But it is also a show of the growing realisation that Brexit is not inevitable, whatever the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage might want us to believe.
“Young people can still look forward to a bright future, but to achieve that we need to up the pressure for a People’s Vote – and then win it.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan said the march was an opportunity to send a message to the government and ensure the decision on the country's future is returned to the British people.
He said: “Today will go down as an historic moment in our democracy. A moment when in their thousands, people from every corner of our country and every section of our society will take to the streets – coming to make our voice heard.
“It will be inspiring to see so many young people at the march, leading the way. Because – more than anything else - this is about their future.
“We’ve heard some complain that a public vote would be undemocratic and unpatriotic. But the opposite is true. There’s nothing more democratic - nothing more British - than trusting the people to have the final say on our future.
"The lies, the mistruths and the deceptions of the referendum campaign have now been exposed, and it’s clear the will of the people is changing. No one voted to leave the EU to make themselves poorer. No one voted to make life harder for our children and grandchildren. No one voted to see our NHS damaged. And no one voted for the shambles that this Government has created.
“So let this march be a message to the Government - it's time this crucial issue is taken out of the hands of the politicians in Westminster and returned to the people. It's time the British public took back control.”
Some 150 coaches will bring activists to the march from across the country, with a string of coaches sponsored by stars including football manager Alan Pardew, actor Natascha McElhone, writer Armando Iannucci, ex-footballer Jamie Carragher and singer Olly Alexander.
Numbers are expected to far exceed the last march in June when around 100,000 turned out, and organisers have extended the route to accommodate larger crowds.
The march sets off at midday from Park Lane, proceeding down Piccadilly through St James Street, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square, before marching down Whitehall to Parliament Square, where crowds will be greeted by speakers on stage and video messages.
Lord Adonis, a Labour minister who is backing a People’s Vote, said: “Brexit is becoming a dog’s dinner. This week’s fresh chaos and confusion over Brexit negotiations has exposed how even the best deal now available will be a bad one for Britain.
“It’s a mess that nobody voted for and the reason we’re in such a growing crisis is that those cheerleading for Brexit know the promises they made can never be kept.”
He added: “This is about making sure MPs understand how strong feelings are running on this vital issue. If they are wavering, they need to know there is a political price to be paid for doing the wrong thing.
“Voters will neither forgive nor forget if MPs allow this miserable Brexit to proceed without people being given the final say.”
Carmen Smith, a speaker from For our Future’s Sake, said: “Democracy means you don’t have to accept this. Time is short. The issue is urgent.
“The Brexit elite has shown they can’t sort it out. But you can – by demanding a People’s Vote.”