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Brexit Betrayal Rally: What is the anti-EU protest backed by Ukip and Tommy Robinson?

Brexit Betrayal Rally: What is the anti-EU protest backed by Ukip and Tommy Robinson?

Ukip and former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson are staging a “Brexit Betrayal Rally” in London on Sunday 9 December.

An opportunity for Brexiteers dissatisfied with prime minister Theresa May’s deal for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to express their anger, the march is expected to attract thousands of Leave voters to the streets of the capital, many travelling long distances by coach to attend.

The demonstration has been scheduled ahead of the “meaningful” parliamentary vote on Tuesday, in which members of the House of Commons will decide whether or not to accept the deal.

Described as a “cross-party People’s Rally”, the event will see both Ukip leader Gerard Batten and Robinson address the crowd.

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Marchers are being told to meet outside the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane and set off for Whitehall at 11.45am on Sunday, according to the event’s Facebook page.

After an hour’s march, participants will rally before the Houses of Parliament to hear Mr Batten speak on “the political aspects of Brexit”.

Ukip’s former leader Lord Pearson will also be among the speakers covering “the various aspects of national life that will continue to be adversely affected by Theresa May’s ‘Withdrawal Agreement’, from farming, fishing, immigration, the military, police, to criminal justice.”

A number of supporters on social media have suggested those attending wear yellow high-visibility vests as a show of solidarity with the anti-establishment fuel tax protesters who caused mayhem in Paris on Saturday night.

While the organisers insist the rally will be a “democratic and peaceful demonstration”, the Metropolitan Police are expected to be out in force to maintain order as counter-demonstrations are expected from a number of anti-fascist organisations.

Nigel Farage, the poster boy for Ukip’s Brexit push in 2016, left the party this week over his opposition to its current hard-right stance under Mr Batten, having publicly expressed his disapproval of the decision to appoint Robinson as an adviser on the issues of “grooming gangs” and prisons.

“I believe he is entirely unsuitable to be involved in any political party,” Mr Farage wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “The fact is that his entourage includes violent criminals and ex-BNP members.

“Many Ukip members – including Ukip’s NEC – urged that Robinson should not become an advisor to Batten. Sadly, these pleas fell on deaf ears.”

Robinson’s appointment has also seen William Dartmouth, Bill Etheridge, Patrick O’Flynn and Suzanne Evans have all also quit the party in recent weeks in opposition to its current political direction.

“I would never have joined Ukip as it stands today, obsessed as it is with becoming a successor to the British National Party and the English Defence League,” Ms Evans said, accusing the Mr Batten of “putting an increasingly hostile and vicious focus on attacking the Muslim community en masse”.

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Robinson, who has a lengthy criminal record and is fervently anti-Islam, is currently facing the possibility of a retrial after successfully appealing against a jail term for contempt of court after live-streaming videos to Facebook from outside a sex trafficking hearing.

Mr Batten himself labelled Islam a “death cult” in the wake of the Westminster terror attack in March 2017 and compared Robinson to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

In a video promoting Sunday’s march, Robinson seemed to betray his ambitions for Brexit and his alliance with Ukip when he stated: “Not one of the issues I talk about can be solved at all if we don’t free ourselves from the European Union so the establishment, the government have to be aware of the public outrage and the public betrayal of the vote.”

Banned from becoming a member himself by party rules, Robinson has urged his Facebook following to do so in his stead: “By joining we can influence the party. Members that join with similar views shape the direction.”

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

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