Anti-Brexit campaigners in Aylesbury deliver residents' messages to David Lidington
Anti-Brexit protest groups under the banner of the People's Vote movement were campaigning in Aylesbury this weekend, collecting postcard messages from residents to deliver to MP for Aylesbury, David Lidington.
North Bucks has played a significant role in the nation's Brexit saga, not least with the various interjections of House Speaker and MP for Buckingham, John Bercow, and the role of Mr Lidington as former Deputy Prime Minister.
We also had the Leave means Leave pro-Brexit march pass through our region earlier in the year and this newspaper spoke to Nigel Farage about it back in March.
And so it continued on Saturday, with pro-Remain organisations in Aylesbury joining the nationwide 'Stop The Coup' rallies, of which there were approximately 80 around the country, with tens of thousands of people taking part.
Protesters across the country have been taking to the streets ever since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his intention to suspend Parliament last week in order to meet his pledge of ensuring Brexit goes ahead on 31 October.
Sarah Jones, officially the social media manager of European Movement Milton Keynes, has been collaborating with Open Britain Aylesbury and Open Britain Thame over the past few weeks to collect around 300 signatures in Aylesbury's Market Square to deliver to David Lidington's constituency office.
We spoke to Sarah about her recent activities in the town. Firstly, she explained why they are focusing on Aylesbury:
“We go there because of David Lidington. We think it will be more effective with all of us campaigning in Aylesbury at the moment.”
“Our MPs in Milton Keynes are not going to change their minds but David Lidington is obviously an intelligent, educated man, not a Brexit fanatic, so there's real potential that he could shift. He's already spoken out against no-deal, so he just needs to take action.”
Regarding what people in Aylesbury have been saying to her and her colleagues, Sarah said:
“We're asking people to write what they think and what they want to tell their MP. Some people just write 'Stop Brexit', some people 'Stop no-deal Brexit' and we've had a lot of Leave voters saying they didn't vote for no-deal, so a lot of the postcards are from Leave voters who oppose no-deal and the prorogation of Parliament.”
We asked Sarah what messages gained the most traction locally, and she explained:
“Well people are already having trouble getting their medicines. We're meeting these people at the stalls who it's happening to and we relate that to Leave voters. That's the angle that gets to them, if you can show that it's not 'project fear', that we have just spoken to a gentleman who can't get his medication because the pharmacist has run out – that it's happening to your neighbours here in Aylesbury.”
MPs return to work from their summer break on Tuesday this week, with only a few sitting days until Parliament is set to be suspended until 14 October. If prorogation goes ahead as ordered by the Prime Minister last week, it would mean there is unlikely to be enough time to pass legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.
While once again the immediate future is uncertain, Sarah is clear where she hopes we will end up:
“Some Remainers want to just revoke Article 50, but honestly I don't think that's democratic. I think people need to have a say in this and decide what they want to do, so that's where the People's Vote comes in.”