The York People’s Vote march took place on 10 November, following the national march that occurred on the 20 October in London. The march started in St Helen’s Square and went through Stonegate, before heading down Parliament street, towards Davygate, ending back in St Helen’s Square, where the rally and speeches were held.
The People’s Vote, who organised the march along with York for Europe and other agencies, is a group who call for Britain to have a public vote on the final Brexit deal. Martin Brooks, who is the chairman of associated group York for Europe, said: “We believe [the march] is a democratic solution to the mess that we’re in over what to do with Brexit. There’s no clarity about the deal that’s being offered, there’s no particular support for any one of the Brexit options.” The aforementioned London march had upwards of 700 000 participants and although York could not in any way match this number, organisers were hoping for the march to be a chance for the county to show its support. They wanted the march to put further pressure on the government and make sure the “people are given a final say.”
Speakers at the rally included Sir Hugh Bayley, former York Central MP; James Blanchard, Lib Dem candidate for York Outer; Denise Craghill, Green Councillor; James Mellor; Antonella Gramola Sands; Peter Jacobs and Madeleina Kay. Rachael Maskell couldn’t attend the rally, sent in a speech to be read by an aide. All the speeches apart from Maskell’s were received well, with minimum heckling or disturbance. Sir Hugh Bayley’s speech at the rally talked extensively about the inefficient divines of the government in the current situation. He was quoted, saying: “The way out of the impasse is for Parliament to back a further referendum – to test whether leaving, is really what the public wants.”
The march was said to be very successful by the groups organising it. The York Press estimated the numbers in attendance at around 3 000 in attendance, whilst the YorkMix said the march saw “about 2 000 anti-Brexit protesters.” There were stands around St Helen’s Square which were giving out stickers and collecting donations. Postcards and placards were also available to the general public. The march and rally crowd consisted mainly of students and middle aged people. Many groups were in attendance, including the York Green Party, among others
.There was not much opposition at the event from counter-demonstrators. North Yorkshire Police on the scene, when asked, said: “The march and rally has been extremely quiet today, there have been no violent incidents [so far]. Disturbance has been kept to a minimum.”