Monday 21 January 2019

'Star Trek' actor backs bid for public vote on final Brexit deal

Patrick Stewart. Photo: Getty Images
Patrick Stewart. Photo: Getty Images

Izzy Lyons in London

Veteran actor Patrick Stewart has joined a campaign to demand another referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Speaking at a rally in London yesterday afternoon, Stewart (78) told a crowd of more than 1,200 people that he "will not stand idly by" while Britain's "future is at stake".

Opening the London launch of People's Vote - a new grassroots movement campaigning for a referendum on the final deal - Stewart said Brexit would mean he would show his new blue passport "with less pride".

The actor, famous for productions including 'Star Trek', said even his fictional 'X-Men' character Charles Xavier would have supported the Remain campaign.

He said: "It is not Charles Xavier standing here in front of you - although I can assure you that if he was, he would have voted Remain. And why? Because unity, common cause, well-being of society and debate were paramount to belief of this fictional character.

"Since the 2016 referendum, there has been a concerted effort by many - including government - to shut down debate about Brexit and to tell us that we should simply trust ministers to get on with it because Brexit is an irreversible process.

"That we shouldn't worry about the cost and complexity of it or the litany of broken promises. Today we say that's not good enough.

"Our country's future is at stake and we will not stand idly by. That is why I support a people's vote on the final deal."

Stewart told the crowd that the day Britain joined the EU on January 1, 1973, was one of the best days of his life.

"I was working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. My wife and I owned a tiny little cottage in Warwickshire. We had a young son and a daughter on the way," he said.

"But the reason for the joy on that New Year's Day was because the UK had finally become a member of the European Union," he added.

Stewart went on to discuss his upbringing in working-class Yorkshire, where he witnessed the terrible aftermath of World War II.

He said: "The cost of war was everywhere and many never recovered from it.

"That was the Europe I grew up in and that is why when Britain joined the [European Economic Community] in 1973, that date was so special to me.

"When the UK and Ireland were brought in, I felt for the first time in my life that the brutality of both world wars could never happen again."

Irish Independent

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