Tens of thousands of Brexiteers have descended on London to blast the Government’s ‘Brexit betrayal’ after Theresa May’s latest bid to get her withdrawal agreement through the Commons was thwarted by MPs.
Police have been put on standby and parliamentary are being sent home early over fears the huge crowds that have flocked to Westminster could turn violent.
Cheers rang out around Parliament Square as the Prime Minister’s 58-vote Commons defeat was announced this afternoon, while several protestors did a lap of honour and rang their own ‘liberty bell’.
Others remained furious at the Government’s handling of Britain’s exit from the EU, with some waving signs that read: ‘Parliament v the people’.
Demonstrators from as many as 13 protest groups marched to Whitehall on the day Britain was due to leave the European Union, with the EU Commission now claiming a no-deal exit on April 12 is the ‘most likely scenario’.
Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson were among those who addressed the crowds of March To Leave demonstrators who arrived in the capital today after making the 14-day trip from Sunderland.
Chants of ‘We shall not be moved’ and ‘Bye bye EU’ were heard as protestors clutched placards, Ukip flags and Union Jacks.
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Tens of thousands of ‘betrayed’ Brexiteers have descended on London as they celebrate Theresa May’s latest EU defeat
Leave supporters cheer in Parliament Square as Theresa May’s latest efforts to get an EU withdrawal agreement through the Commons fail. One sign reads: ‘The withdrawal agreement is not a path to Brexit’
Pro-Brexit supporters performed a lap of honour and rang their own ‘liberty bell’ outside Parliament today claiming Britain will crash out of the EU without a deal after Theresa May’s proposals were voted down
‘Believe in Britain’: Brexiteers make their voice heard as they arrive in Parliament Square, with banners including a Harry and Meghan wedding poster, Union flags, and a ‘Parliament versus the people’ banner
An aerial view of Parliament Square shows the numbers of protestors who flocked to central London to express their anger about the state of Theresa May’s Brexit plan
Huge crowds marched from south London along the River Thames to Whitehall today. One woman is seen wearing a ’52 per cent and proud member’
Aerial images of London’s Parliament Square show the scale of the protest, which comes a week after the Put It To The People march when remainers demanded another vote on Brexit
There were cheers from Believe in Britain demonstrators assembled in Parliament Square as Mrs May’s deal was defeated
There were cheers in Parliament Square as Mrs May’s latest attempt at getting her withdrawal agreement through the Commons was thwarted by MPs
A man is pictured wearing a Theresa May mask after her deal was voted down by 58 votes in the Commons this afternoon
The Nigel Farage-backed group are on the final day of their protest walk from Sunderland to Westminster, arriving in time for the UK’s original EU departure date.
Addressing crowds, Tommy Robinson, who founded the English Defence League but now advises Ukip, said: ‘Theresa May are you listening, John Bercow are you listening?’
Tommy Robinson addressed crowds outside Parliament to announce Mrs May’s defeat this afternoon
He had said on his arrival earlier: ‘So Theresa May has lost her vote. Many people will be asking what does that even mean.
‘It means we were betrayed. Today is supposed to be our Independence Day.’
Ukip leader Gerard Batten later revealed that the party will be ‘fielding candidates up and down the country at the local elections on May 2’.
He said it is looking increasingly likely that the country will have to take part in the EU elections.
‘If that happens Ukip will field candidates in every region of the country. Ukip candidates will be Brexit candidates,’ he added.
As he left the stage, to Land Of Hope and Glory being blasted out around Whitehall, those watching heartily sang along and waved their flags in time to the music.
There were loud boos when Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s face was broadcast on a screen ahead of the speeches by Leave campaigners.
Brexit figurehead Nigel Farage said Mrs May’s defeat was ‘the end of the road’ for the Prime Minister.
He said: ‘We should be leaving today with no deal.
‘I have to say honestly I’d rather have an extension to Article 50 than have this appalling treaty that Mrs May signed up to.
‘I think it’s the end of the road, not just for this new European treaty which is what it is but for her as well.
‘If there are more battles to come be they European elections or whatever else that’s what we’ll focus our energies on.’
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage gives an impassioned speech to his fellow Brexiteers as tens of thousands assemble in Parliament Square
On a no-deal Brexit on April 12, he said: ‘Much as that’s what I want and fascinatingly that’s where the opinion polls are now going very strongly and very quickly I really don’t hold out a very great hope that’s going to happen.
‘There’s going to be an extension and more political battles, simple as that.’
Scotland Yard had to dismiss claims from Ukip that a water cannon could be deployed at protests to ‘provoke Brexiteers’, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been seen on a controversial bus tour around the capital.
Police began ushering people to the pavement and created a blockade around the protestors to let taxis move through as the chaos continued.
Many on the march have been seen holding Union Jack flags, placards and banners, with several seen wearing hi-vis vests similar to the Gilet Jaunes.
Tens of thousands are pictured applauding Leave speeches in Parliament Square. A French flag with Ukip graffiti is seen being waved in the foreground
Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is seen speaking to crowds assembled outside Parliament
Crowds watch as Tommy Robinson’s documentary is played on a 50ft screen erected in Parliament Square
A Believe In Britain group pinned a blue banner ‘Bring back Cromwell Help!!!’ to the Parliament railings this afternoon
The calls of protestors for both a no deal and a no Brexit are expected to continue right through the day as the Commons debates Theresa May’s Brexit deal
Protestors, one with a purple and yellow Ukip rosette, march through Whitehall holding a ‘Long Live The Queen’ Union Jack
One man in a Union flag shirt holds an American flag over his shoulder as the Brexiteer group march down towards the media area at College Green. Protestors had staked out their territory around the green from the early hours of today
Earlier ‘Oh Tommy Robinson’ chants began as he announced Mrs May’s defeat to the tens of thousands assembled outside the Commons.
He then showed them a documentary he had made on a 50-foot screen, saying:‘Panodrama proves everything, every single one of you already know: propaganda, slander, collusion, demonisation against every single one of us.’
The European Commission statement released after the vote was declared said: ‘The Commission regrets the negative vote in the House of Commons today.
‘As per the European Council (Article 50) decision on 22 March, the period provided for in Article 50(3) is extended to 12 April.
‘It will be for the UK to indicate the way forward before that date, for consideration by the European Council.
One activist’s sign reads: ‘Most MPs are corrupt liars’ and ‘Save Brexit’ as he marches past the Houses of Parliament
A man wearing a suit covered in Union Jacks carries a Believe In Britain placard and a flag as he joins protestors in London
‘A ‘no-deal’ scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario. The EU has been preparing for this since December 2017 and is now fully prepared for a ‘no-deal’ scenario at midnight on 12 April. The EU will remain united.
‘The benefits of the Withdrawal Agreement, including a transition period, will in no circumstances be replicated in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. Sectoral mini-deals are not an option.’
A Downing Street spokesman said they were still clinging on to hopes of a deal, saying: ‘What the Prime Minister wants is to secure a deal that allows us to leave as soon as possible. She is going to continue to press for that.
‘We will continue to talk to MPs across the House of Commons. You can expect us to seek to continue discussions with the DUP about what more we can do in providing reassurance that Northern Ireland wouldn’t be left behind in any backstop.’
A No 10 source added: ‘It is overwhelmingly in the national interest that we arrive at a successful conclusion to phase one of the negotiations and that is her entire focus.’
Protestors begin to arrive at Parliament Square after the 14-day trek from Sunderland comes to an end. One woman, wearing a Trump MAGA hat stretches out a sign reading ‘For Britain – For Brexit’
A statue of Winston Churchill (right) watches over the gathered crowd. Hundreds of British flags appear to outnumber the turnout of European flags this morning
Brexit supporters Roger Hopkins and Charlotte Clifford, from Eastbourne, said they were pleased the Withdrawal Agreement had been defeated as it was a ‘bad deal’.
Mr Hopkins, who is retired, said: ‘I’m pretty pleased about it actually, it was a bad deal.
‘What I really really hope for now is to come out on WTO terms, it’s not ‘crashing out’ or anything like that.’
Ms Clifford added: ‘The people are supposed to be the masters and them inside (pointing at Parliament) are meant to do what we tell them. It’s democracy.’
Kelvin, 27, from south London, was among those sitting in Parliament Square on Friday afternoon.
He said: ‘I’m glad [the deal] has been defeated – it’s not what we voted for. We voted to leave and end free movement of people.’
Danny Wallace, 28, from Manchester, said: ‘I listened to what happened and Theresa May pretty much said she’s going to come out with a second referendum.
‘That’s a bad idea, I think what most people wanted was what was on the table – leaving the EU under World Trade Organisation rules.’
Mr Wallace and two friends had spent the afternoon in Parliament Square to await the outcome of the vote.
Hundreds of Brexit supporters converge of Westminster as the latest day of protest gathers pace. Signs reading ‘No deal or no Tories’ and ‘Respect the referendum and do your duty can be seen’ waving through the crowds
Pro-Brexit demonstrators are pictured waving their Ukip flags as they march towards Parliament this afternoon. The final day of the two-week March To Leave that has come all the way from Sunderland arrived in London today
Ukip protestors make their way towards Parliament holding Union Jacks, party flags and ‘Believe in Britain’ flyers
A Brexiteer confronts a Remainer in front of Westminster. Met Police expect protests to last through the day, and have announced preparations for road blocks
A massive Leave Means Leave banner is unfurled in front of Big Ben as one England supporter helps lead the march around Parliament Square
Female protestors stand in front of a police officer by the gates to Westminster wearing capes of national flags. A sign behind the girls claims ‘a Brexit delayed is a Brexit betrayed’
Nigel Farage congratulated the pro-Brexit marchers who had walked the whole distance from Sunderland, saying ‘it’s a bloody long way’.
‘It’s a hell of an achievement and the symbolism couldn’t have been greater. I would’ve liked to have done more, I’ve just been too busy,’ he said.
Brexit Party MEP for Scotland David Coburn, formerly of Ukip, said of the march: ‘Excellent, isn’t it? It’s like Cromwell’s Army.’
Mr Coburn, wearing a kilt and wielding a Saltire flag, said: ‘It’s ridiculous, May has no intention of giving us Brexit. It’s now an argument between the establishment and the people.
‘The trick has been shown, people see they’re not going to get what they voted for. It’s unacceptable.’
Mr Coburn said he resigned from Ukip as it had been ‘infiltrated by the wrong sort of people’.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP makes an appearance at the protest in front of Parliament surrounded by supporters holding Believe in Britain placards
London’s Metropolitan Police are pulling in extra officers to deal with the 13 planned protests due to take place today as the UK was supposed to leave the European Union
The last stage of the March to Leave route took less than three hours to begin trailing into Parliament Square from Chiswick in west London. The route took in the banks of the River Thames, Fulham FC and Chelsea Harbour
Pro-Brexit protestors take part in the March to Leave demonstration, as they walk along the River Thames with many holding ‘Believe in Britain’ banners
Conservative party member Colin Grostate, 67, said the vests were ‘a symbol from France’.
The former black cab driver said: ‘We support the populism. Germany, France, Spain, they’re all starting the same thing and now the British are too.
‘Yellow vests means you’re in distress; when your car breaks down you put it on.
‘Our politicians are not listening. Too many people are trying to stop what people voted for.’
Brexiteer campaigners were spotted converging on the road in front of Parliament to stop a pro-Remain van with a display screen showing quotes from Nigel Farage, which had been circling Parliament square all morning.
The mob then pointed and shouted ‘shame on you’ at the van, which continued to display the quotes.
Barry Lockey, from Sunderland, was on the March to Leave on its first rain-soaked day in the north east two weeks ago.
The 60-year-old lifeguard said of that first day: ‘It was horrible mate, and pensioners were on it so I take my hat off to them.
‘Down here in Parliament they’re in their bubble with their votes with little margins and this and that.
‘For me it’s democracy at stake here and that’s why I’ve come down, absolutely.’
Younger members of the march hold up banners with the slogan ‘Leave Means Leave’, a play on Theresa May’s slogan ‘Brexit means Brexit’ as Imperial Wharf at Chelsea Harbour
One marcher holds a sign aloft reading ‘Respect the vote’ as Union flag-wrapped Brexit supporters take part in the final leg of the March To Leave Rally on March 29
Marchers fill the street beside Imperial Wharf. The long walk from Chiswick to Westminster is the final stretch of their 14-day hike that started on a rainy day on the North Sea coast near Sunderland
A man who gave his name only as Miroslav said he left the former Yugoslavia for the UK in 1990, adding: ‘I’ve lived in a dictatorship before and I don’t want to live in a dictatorship again.’
The engineer, 55, was holding a large banner on the March to Leave procession with detailed caricatures of British politicians being controlled as puppets by senior EU figures.
Walking along the Thames opposite Battersea Park, he said: ‘It cost a lot, but democracy has no price.
‘I love Europe, but the EU have lied, they have ignored referendums, there’s no democracy there.’
He compared certain EU methods of choosing its top officials as ‘worthy of Hugo Chavez or Vladimir Putin’.
A Brexit supporter demonstrates outside the Houses of Parliament on a tense day of voting for the government, as Theresa May’s Brexit deal goes before the Commons for a third time
A large banner unfurls to read ‘Honour the vote’ – Protests are expected to block off the streets surrounding Westminster as dozens of Leave and Remain supporters have already arrived in Parliament Square to stake out their territory
The group has increased in size compared to the 80-strong crowd walking from Sunderland, police temporarily blocking off roads to allow them to pass through west London
The Metropolitan Police dismissed suggestions from Ukip leader Gerard Batten that water cannons could be deployed at today’s protests, saying reports it could use them were ‘baseless and false’.
Mr Batten is due to speak at a rally alongside ex-English Defence League chief Tommy Robinson against ‘Theresa May and her traitorous Tories’ on Whitehall on Friday afternoon.
Westminster Council said it is aware of up to 13 separate scheduled protests and the Metropolitan Police said ‘appropriate policing plans are in place’.
The procession, which left Sunderland two weeks ago, is due to arrive at Parliament Square at around 4pm.
Hundreds of people were pictured at the start of the march toward Parliament earlier today. The March to Leave’s previous walks had been mocked for a lack of numbers
The procession through London started in the Chiswick area of west London earlier than expected this morning
Starting the march in Fulham, leave supporters carry signs saying ‘IKEA have better cabinets than this’ and ‘MPs versus 17.4m leave voters’
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, businessman and Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer will speak at the ‘Brexit Betrayal’ rally.
Organisers have said ‘it is now clear the Westminster elite are preparing to betray the will of the people over Brexit’, adding: ‘Failing to deliver a true Brexit will permanently damage the British people’s faith in democracy.’
Westminster council said it was aware of expected rallies from groups including: the DFLA (Democratic Football Lads Alliance) Brexit Party; Stand up for Democracy; EU Leaving Party; March of Freedom; Proud British; A Night of Demonstration and Liberty; United Under Yellow; Rally to Rejoin the EU; Fridays for Future and Critical Mass.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks to supporters next to his ‘We are all Londoners’ bus which had been touring London earlier today
UKIP supporters arrive earlier today, as leader Gerard Batten claims that the Met Police will use water cannon against them to ‘provoke Brexiteer’ despite the force not owning any of the machines
A sharply dressed Brexiteer wear of Union flagged suit holding placards of new slogans created by the leave campaign
The Metropolitan Police said ‘appropriate policing plans are in place’ to cope with ‘a number of demonstrations and protests’ on Friday.
A spokesman said: ‘We will always provide a proportionate policing plan to balance the right to peaceful protest, while ensuring that disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.
‘To date, protests have been largely peaceful and we have no intelligence at this time to suggest that will change.
‘We would like to reassure the public that officers will be ready to respond should any incidents or other spontaneous protests arise.’
Dozens of party planners will go ahead with their
One ‘Brexit leaving drinks’ event which apparently has 2,600 attendees said they had to cancel due to low ticket sales after the Prime Minister May decided to ‘postpone’ Brexit.
LondonSwedes, who were co-organising the event at Number 90 Bar & Kitchen in Hackney Wick said they ‘are still keeping the champagne on ice for the actual date’.
LondonSwedes founder Charlotte Ågren said: ‘The postponement of the event was not an easy decision – but we felt a bit strange going ahead with ‘Leaving Drinks’ on a date that isn’t necessarily close to our actual departure date…or indeed if we’re even going to leave at all.
‘We tried to approach the event with as much positivity as possible for something that’s become quite complex and full of some fairly nasty rhetoric coming from both sides of the argument.
‘Just from the viral reaction on Facebook, it seems that there’s a genuine appetite to put differences to one side and come together to celebrate – whether it’s the need for a stiff drink to ease the pain of leaving or indeed toasting this brave new dawn we’re about to embark on.’
A ‘UK’s leaving drinks’ event had attracted thousands of potential attendees to the party in Hackney Wick tonight, but organisers said it was cancelled because the government ‘couldn’t get their act together’