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STAR Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart has praised a crowd for "transforming" British politics, after large numbers of people took to the streets to demand a second referendum on Brexit.

He was joined by other celebrities and politicians, including Sandy Toksvig, and Labour's shadow cabinet members speaking at the People's Vote rally in Parliament Square. Sir Patrick said the crowd has proven a second referendum was not the "pipe dream" that opponents have described it as.

He said: "You haven't just filled a nice bar in north London, you have taken over an entire city. You haven't just impacted the Brexit debate, you have transformed British politics."

Sir Patrick added there was "nothing democratic" about the 2016 referendum.

"People weren't just misled, they were lied to," he said.

Many of the tens of thousands outside the Palace of Westminster - including many who had travelled from Wales - cheered as they learned Boris Johnson had lost a key Commons vote on his Withdrawal Agreement, withholding approval of the deal until the legislation to implement it is in place.

Following the Government defeat, four members of Labour's front bench left Parliament to address the rally.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told them: "We must put it back to the people. This is a pivotal moment in our history and it shouldn't be left to a handful of MPs."

She was joined by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, who said it was "fantastic" to see the demonstration.

He added: "It's an historic moment, we have defeated Johnson again. We are not going to let him whip out with his sell-out deal.

"We will say no to him again and again. Whatever deal he brings must go back to the people."

MP Antoinette Sandbach, who had the Conservative whip removed, credited the crowd with "changing her mind" on a second vote.

She said: "My local party voted no confidence in me for resisting no deal. It's undemocratic and not what people voted for, but it's honourable that I put my job on the line to protect tens of thousands of jobs that will be lost in the north west from no-deal Brexit."

On the earlier march, effigies of the Prime Minister had been held aloft by protesters at the demonstration, with some accompanied by their pets draped in EU flags.

One group of protesters spotted near Downing Street were pulling a float depicting Number 10 aide Dominic Cummings using Mr Johnson as a puppet.

With "Demonic Cummings" splashed across its forehead, the figure on the float appears to be wearing a Nazi uniform, including an armband which reads Get Brexit Done, and has a Union Jack moustache.

The float was being manned by Phil Jeanes, 67, who said he had driven the sculpture from Dusseldorf in Germany on Thursday night.

Mr Jeanes is part of a group called EU Flag Mafia, and has lived in Essen for the last nine years with his German wife.

He said the float had been specifically designed for the People's Vote march by the German artist Jacques Tilly. It is the fourth model designed by the artist, who also made a sculpture of Theresa May with her nose impaling a man in a bowler hat.

"He put 14 sketches together and we chose what we thought would be the best," Mr Jeanes, who is retired, said. "I suppose we were always intending to do a float for this march and you have to wait and see what is happening at the time."

Despite, the mainly good-natured demonstration, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom later alleged she received "frightening" abuse from anti-Brexit protesters.

Footage posted to social media showed both Mrs Leadsom and her Cabinet colleagues Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove being heckled by People's Vote demonstrators as they left the House of Parliament under police escort.

Boos and shouts of "shame on you" were directed at Mrs Leadsom as she walked down the street surrounded by officers.

Similarly, demonstrators could be heard shouting "shame" as Mr Rees-Mogg and his young son passed the protesters on London's Millbank, while police could be heard urging people to leave Mr Gove alone.

Meanwhile, pro-Brexit activists also gathered in Westminster.

Jason Hurt, 48, from Sheffield, was sporting a "I voted Leave" T-shirt, and said he feels people who voted for Brexit are being ignored.

"I voted Leave, I want my voice heard," he said. "It is always about the Remainers, never about the Leavers.

There are 17.4 million of us, we never get our voices heard."

After the encounter, Mrs Leadsom tweeted: "Thank goodness for our superb police. Just walked home safely from HoC with their protection - why do the so called 'People's Vote' protesters think it's ok to abuse, intimidate and scream in the face of someone they don't agree with? "So frightening, and so grateful to the police," she added.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott was also filmed being targeted by pro-Brexit demonstrators who asked if she was wearing "Jeremy Corbyn's slippers" and told her "it's about time we stopped all this".

And her Labour colleague Dawn Butler responded to Mrs Leadsom: "Hi Andrea, Glad you and Michael got back home safely."


Stephen McGann, left, and Sir Patrick Stewart, second left, joined protesters

Welsh protesters rally before the march

Anti-Brexit protesters fill Parliament Square in London yesterday
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 20, 2019
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