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March for Europe

July 3, 2016

On Saturday afternoon I spoke to the tens of thousands of people gathered in Parliament Square at the March for Europe standing for hope, unity, solidarity and most of all against hatred and intolerance.

 

My message was clear: Don't mourn the EU, organise. Lobby your Members of Parliament and say to them they must vote on whether we are going to press the Article 50 button. Tell them the Leave campaign was based on lies. Keep up the fight.

 

You can watch my speech on YouTube here.

 

You can read my speech in full below:

 

Nigel Farage, looks at this! Boris Johnson, look at this! Michael Gove, look at this!

 

Friends, whatever your political persuasion. Let’s say to friends in this audience from France, from Italy, from Germany, from Spain, from Greece, from across Europe: we love you, we stand with you and we will fight this.

 

I am here first and foremost as the son of immigrants. It is my honour and my privilege to represent Tottenham, the most diverse constituency in this country and I am proud.

 

But in the last week or so there have been huge ups and downs in my emotions. I have been so disappointed, depressed and angry at the racism, xenophobia and nastiness that this Leave campaign has unleashed in our country.

 

I don’t recognise a British people that would have black pensioners evacuated from their day centre because they are in fear.

 

I don’t recognise a Britain in which young Muslims coming back from the mosque are attacked by a man with a crowbar.

 

And let me say to those that have emailed me or written comments on some of the articles I have written or been part of:

 

I’m not going anywhere. I was born in this country. This is my home. This is our home. And this will be my children’s home.

 

We are standing for unity, we are standing for hope, and we are standing against division.

 

If we look at the campaign, as we think about these Etonians who have got us into this huge mess – an Etonian Mess.

 

We need to send Ofsted in – that school is failing.

 

We cannot exit Europe on the basis of self-interest.

 

David Cameron had a referendum because of those on the right in his party. It was not in your interests.

 

Let’s be clear what happened.

 

Boris Johnson joined the other side because he wanted to be Prime Minister.

 

Let’s be clear what happened.

 

Michael Gove first thought he wanted to be kingmaker, now he wants to be Prime Minister too.

 

And when they say the deal is done. Let us be absolutely clear about our constitution.

 

It was an advisory referendum.

 

If you combine the 48% who wanted to stay with those who stayed at home, only 32% want to Leave.

 

We stand here on the backs of great people. People who fought fascism in the Second World War.

 

People who stood up to xenophobes and racists. And we stand on their shoulders. That’s why we are here this afternoon.

 

And we must continue to fight for our democracy. We are standing outside the Houses of Parliament because that is sovereign.

 

So I beg you all: don’t mourn the EU, organise. Lobby your Members of Parliament and say to them they must vote on whether we are going to press the Article 50 button. Tell them the Leave campaign was based on lies.

 

Let’s run through them.

 

Is there going to be £350 million for the health service every week?

 

Is Turkey about to join the EU?

 

Can you have a trade deal and avoid free movement of people?

 

Lies. And that is why we say Parliament have to take a look at this. Or, let’s put it back to the people in a referendum.

 

Why is this so crucial? As we stand here, and I say this from my heart representing Tottenham, it is the poorest people in our country who will suffer.

 

And why will they suffer? Because there is no plan. The pound is falling. Share prices are dropping. Investment is drying up. Our economy is in meltdown. And there is no plan. So when you come up with a plan, let’s bring it back for a vote.

 

Now my position as a Member of Parliament on behalf of my constituents is very clear. My promise to you is that I will never, ever vote for Brexit.

 

And I think you’ll find, and this is the hope, that the Liberal Democrats aren’t going to vote for Brexit. The Scottish Nationalists aren’t going to vote for Brexit. The SDLP aren’t going to vote for Brexit. The Greens aren’t going to vote for Brexit. There are MP’s like me in the Labour Party who aren’t going to vote for Brexit. When Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine join the queue too guess what, there are Tories who aren’t going to vote for Brexit.

 

Keep up the fight. And let’s just say, we do know our history. When mainstream politicians in a mainstream party stand alongside fascists this is what happens. We know our history, we know what happens and we will fight.

 

 

 

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David Lammy

From Tottenham. For Tottenham.