Huge anti-Brexit protest being planned outside Tory conference

Organisers say the demonstration will kick off an 'Autumn of Discontent' over Brexit and will attract hundreds of thousands.

Campaigners are planning a 100,000-strong pro-EU march outside the Tory Party conference in Manchester in October. We spoke to one of the organisers.

Anti-Brexit campaigners will target the Conservative conference on 4th October, promising to bring tens of thousands to the streets of Manchester on the first day of the event in what they’re dubbing an ‘autumn of discontent’ over Brexit.

The protest will be supported by the Liberal Democrats — ending a traditional truce that says the parties will not disrupt each others conferences — speakers will include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

‘Regional marches of discontent’ will also occur in London and around the country, said Peter French, one of the organisers of the Stop Brexit protest in Manchester.

French helped organise the Unite for Europe demonstration in London in March which attracted over 100,000 people — he said he was hopeful the Manchester protest could attract similar numbers.

Holding it in Manchester would give those in the north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a chance to make their voices heard on Brexit, said French.

“After the Unite for Europe demonstration in March, I got a lot of comments from colleagues in the north of England and Scotland saying “this is yet another London centric event and we’re being disenfranchised yet again”, so we’re correcting that”.

“I absolutely 100 per cent believe that Brexit can and will be stopped. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, there’s going to be a lot to do. Many others agree, including many within the Conservative party”

The march is not about “Tory-bashing, is not anti-austerity”, says French. It’s purely about Brexit and will even attract pro-EU Tories, he says.

The Manchester march will comprise “a coalition of pro-EU groups from across the country” and speakers will include Alastair Campbell, AC Grayling and Bonnie Greer.

“I’m intending this to be a very high profile event”, says French: “the world’s media are going to be there for the conference.”

The march will be the start of an “Autumn of Discontent” he said, though would not specify other events that will occur under this banner except by saying: “I’ve got something very special planned that will draw the world’s media to this event.”

“What we’re not planning is an Autumn of anarchy”, he adds: “the march in Manchester will be a family march. We want to get people from across society to this event.”

“The tide is turning. Since the election, more and more people are questioning Brexit. More and more people are realising there’s an enormous cost to Brexit. And costs that are going to affect everyone.”

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