Liberal Democrats will abandon political party protocol by joining pro-EU campaigners to protest against Brexit outside this year’s Conservative Party Conference. Activists are planning to stage one of the biggest marches in opposition to Britain leaving the EU when the Tories stage their annual conference in Manchester in October.
They will be joined by the Lib Dems who will break the conventional truce that prevents parties from disrupting other political conferences.
The party said it did not take the decision “lightly”, but said such action was necessary to prevent the Government pressing on with a “harmful” Brexit.
“Brexit is the battle of our lives and it is vital we make the Conservatives see the strength of feeling against their disastrous extreme Brexit, which threatens to crash the economy and damage the life chances of millions,” Tom Brake, the Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said.
“They are heading for the very most reckless of Brexits in the teeth of public opposition to leaving the single market. Liberal Democrats didn’t take the decision lightly to protest at another party’s conference but we can’t ignore the harm Theresa May’s Brexit will do to future generations. Liberal Democrats on the march will protest peacefully and in good spirit but ministers should be under no illusions that a lot of people are very, very angry at their disastrous handling of Brexit, which has made a difficult situation a million times worse.”
The news comes after Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable branded older Leave voters as “Brexit jihadis”. The pro-Europe rally is expected to be one of the biggest to date, with thousands believed to be joining anti-Tory and anti-austerity protests on the same day as the Conservative conference begins.
According to Peter French, a campaigner behind Unite for Europe, several anti-Brexit groups were expected to march in Manchester, including protestors from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“This is our chance to actually let the people in the north of England have their voices heard because they have been neglected in every other way and this is a chance to give them their voice as well,” he told The Guardian.
“And this is a chance to hopefully start to turn this around. Our aim is to actually stop the Brexit process and I think things are beginning to turn in that direction. We have a long fight on our hands but I think it is something that is achievable.”