By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central London to stage the biggest pro-EU rally to urge the government for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal on Saturday.
The protest which has been organized for weeks started at midday and the organizers said around 700,000 people gathered for the biggest anti-Brexit rally since the 2016 referendum.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Conservative MP Anna Soubry, Labour MP Chuka Umunna and the Liberal Democrat Party Leader Vince Cable addressed the crowd after reaching the Parliament Square.
British and the EU leaders are expected to further discuss probable next steps to advance in talks to avoid a no-deal scenario following an impasse reached over the Irish border last week.
The main disagreement over the border issue has been over a EU-suggested backstop — keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market and customs union after Brexit until a solution is found — because it would create a sort of a border within the U.K. in the Irish Sea.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said they would not give in to any solution that would divide the U.K.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Northern Ireland’s biggest political party, has said it would not agree on any final deal that would separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.
The DUP’s support is crucial for the continuation of May’s government after her party lost the majority in parliament, following a snap election last year. Later, The Tories and the DUP signed a confidence-and-supply deal which effectively means the DUP helps keep the Conservatives in power.
May will almost certainly face a domestic impasse as well, as up to 40 Tory MPs signaled that they would trigger a vote of no confidence against her as they think she will not deliver a Brexit that people voted for.
They particularly are against the idea of leaving the country anchored to EU rules and laws without any say in the EU’s decision-making mechanisms.
She will also face reservations from the DUP over any possible concession regarding the backstop that the EU says is needed for a final deal.
Britain voted to leave the bloc by 52 percent to 48 percent in a referendum held in June 2016.
The U.K. is set to leave the EU in March 2019.