Unite for Europe
On Saturday 25th March I spoke at the Unite for Europe march in Parliament Square. It was wonderful to see thousands of people come out to make their voices heard - it truly was a great day for our democracy.
You can read my speech in full below, or watch it here from 4:34.
This is what the country I love looks like.
Have we got any EU nationals in this audience? Brothers and sisters we stand with you.
I was thinking, why am I here? Why am I really here?
It’s because in the end we know what this is all about.
This is really about anti-immigration.
So I am here thinking about my parents, who are no longer here. I’m thinking of my father who arrived here in 1956.
This has been a tough week.
Those who attacked our values weren’t just attempting to attack Parliament, what they were doing was attacking democracy.
And when I look at this crowd what I see is democracy in action.
So the question is:
Are you listening Nigel Farage? Are you listening Liam Fox Are you listening, are you even capable of listening Boris Johnson? And you can see the crowds Theresa May?
We know how we got here.
We’re still waiting for the £350m for the NHS.
And you know we were looking at that election in the Netherlands a few days back.
And a lot of commentators said it was great news that the centre ground had seen off the populists they said.
But the problem was that in order to win over the populists the centre ground has adopted an anti-immigration rhetoric.
So I say yes, Douglas Carswell has left UKIP but the problem is that UKIP is now in the Cabinet. That’s the problem.
So we have to stand united. We have to stand together. We are far better together as a country.
We must always stand up to fascism and the extremists.
As the economy turns down, as night follows day, there will be those who blame the other – they say it’s their fault.
And we must stand up to them.
And they’ll hurl abuse. My god they’ve hurled abuse at me.
They’ll call us Remoaners. They will say this is not the will of the people.
But this fight is not over, this fight is just beginning.
Nigel Farage would not have given up and neither of we.
Wake up. Wake up. We have to join forces. We stand together to fight this.
I represent a part of London with some serious problems. But when you look at the actors who will take us to this hard Brexit, they’re not the ones who will suffer, they’re not the ones who won’t be able to pay their bills. Or wonder where the food is going to come from.
So we stand in solidary with those who aren’t able to march.
And there are some people who voted Leave. And I know why they voted Leave.
Because our economy has changed, because there are seaside town, there are Northern industrial towns and there is very little left for them. There are low wages. The young people have to leave and come to London. Our economy has been in a mess for some time. And then they are encouraged to blame the EU. But the blame lies with successive Governments – that is where the blame lies.
So we must acknowledge that there is pain and there is hardship in this country. We must acknowledge that a lot of people wanted to send a message. I understand that. But the way to do this is not to punish a united Europe.
So friends I say to you.
Right is on our side.
When you think of the better angels of the 20th Century, you think of the people like Mart Luther King, like Mandela, of Churchill fighting fascism. They would be on our side.
Fight for the country you believe in. Stand up for the country you believe in. Look Farage in the eye. Don’t back down. We have a long way to go.