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Brexit: Major rally in London for second People's Vote

Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the UK are gathering in London for a rally calling for a second referendum on Brexit. It comes as the third parliamentary vote on the Brexit appears uncertain next week.Saturday's second rally calling for a revote on the Brexit deal was expected to draw even more people than the 700,000-strong crowd that participated in October's march.

The biggest rally held this century in London was against the war in Iraq which drew 1 million participants. The march is set to begin at 1200 UTC or “high noon” on London’s Park Lane and will head towards Parliament Square.

The rally has drawn cross-party political support with Labour deputy leader Tom Watson saying he backed a second vote as "the only way" to resolve the Brexit impasse. Also attending are Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable.

Neither the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, nor shadow chancellor John McDonnell are attending the rally.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan from the opposition Labour party said he would be marching "with people from every corner of our country, to demand that the British people get the final say."

Green party MP Caroline Lucas compared the likely turnout with the march of a dozen supporters walking from the north of England in support of UKIP founder Nigel Farage.

An online petition on the parliamentary website, calling for Article 50 to be revoked had over 4 million signatures by Saturday, despite several crashes on the site.

Former Conservative MP Anna Soubry left her party in February to join the Independent Group and said she had received a death threat over her Brexit position. She too will participate in Saturday's march. "We are marching for our country — for the future of our children and grandchildren," she wrote on Twitter:

Conservative MP and former attorney general Dominic Grieve had criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May last week for blaming the House of Commons for the crisis around Brexit, while refusing to accept any responsibility herself. The pro-EU politician told MPs: "I have never felt more ashamed to be a member of the Conservative Party or to be asked to lend her support."

Theresa May writes a letter

The prime minister suggested she may not bring her Brexit withdrawal deal back to the House of Commons next week if there is insufficient support for it to pass on a third attempt.

May wrote to all MPs on Friday offering to talk to them in the coming days "as parliament prepares to take momentous decisions."

She said there were four clear choices ahead for lawmakers:

To vote for her deal a third time — which is dependent on clearance from Commons' speaker John Bercow who has ruled there needs to be substantial change to the previous text for it to be voted again, citing a law going back to 1604;
Asking the EU for an extension to the Brexit process before the April 12 deadline presented by the European Council at their meeting last week;
Revoking Article 50, which would end the current Brexit process although not prevent another one, which May said would "betray the result of the referendum;"
Leave the EU without a deal which the House of Commons voted against last week.

The referendum result in 2016 was 52 percent in favor of Brexit and 48 percent against.

jm/jlw (Reuters, AFP)

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Topics: Brexit

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