Protesters cheer as MPs derail Boris Johnson's Brexit plan

19 October 2019, 13:21 | Updated: 19 October 2019, 20:34

Hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK have marched through central London to demand a public vote on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

The demonstration, organised by the People's Vote campaign group, converged on Westminster, where MPs sat for the first time on a Saturday in 37 years to debate the prime minister's withdrawal agreement.

There were jubilant cheers in Parliament Square as protesters heard Mr Johnson had lost a key Commons vote on his divorce deal, with MPs delaying approval.

Later, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg and his young son needed a heavy police escort as they left Westminster as People's Vote protesters pursued them chanting "shame on you".

Boos and shouts were also directed at Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom and her cabinet colleague Michael Gove.

Mrs Leadsom described the abuse she received as "frightening".

She tweeted afterwards: "Thank goodness for our superb police. Just walked home safely from HoC [House of Commons] 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."

Home Secretary Priti Patel also tweeted her thanks to the police for helping people leave parliament.

"We all have strong opinions re: #GetBrexitDone but that is never an excuse to intimidate or direct abuse to others," she said.

Elsewhere, the atmosphere was cheerful.

Celebrities taking part in the march, included the Star Trek star Sir Patrick Stewart and actor Stephen McGann.

They were joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who called for people to be given the "final say" on Brexit.

TV chef Rick Stein shared an image of himself at the march, declaring: "We are European."

Addressing crowds at the Westminster rally, Sir Patrick 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."

He added there was "nothing democratic" about the 2016 referendum.

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

Seen on the march was a float depicting the prime minister's controversial chief aide Dominic Cummings using Mr Johnson as a puppet.

With "Demonic Cummings" emblazoned across its forehead, the horned figure appeared to be dressed in a Nazi uniform with a narrow Union Jack moustache and an armband with the message Get Brexit Done written on it.

The mobile sculpture was being operated by Phil Jeanes, 67, who said he had driven it from Dusseldorf in Germany.

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.

Opposition MPs also addressed the marchers outside parliament.

Labour frontbencher Sir Keir Starmer said: "What we have done is historic because we defeated Johnson again.

"We are not going to let him to rip us out with this sell-out deal and we have just won by 16 votes."

Meanwhile, some pro-Brexit campaigners also gathered outside Westminster to call for the 2016 referendum result to be honoured.

Jason Hurt, 48, from Sheffield, wearing a "I voted Leave" T-shirt, felt people who voted for Brexit were being ignored.

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."

Pam Julian, 68, from Bermondsey, in southeast London, said: "It is not just about trade... The main thing is to regain our independence, to be able to self-govern."