Video and pix: York People’s Parliament attracts cheering crowds – and the occasional heckler

Some of those at the demonstration on St Helen's Square. Photograph: YorkMix
31 Aug 2019 @ 1.26 pm
| News, Politics

Hundreds of people gathered in York to protest about the closure of Parliament.

Young and old assembled in St Helen’s Square to demonstrate against the decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament, which will lessen the chance for MPs to debate or stop a no-deal Brexit.

After some music from the Yokshire Remain Voice Choir, Bob Webb, the Labour councillor from Heworth, opened proceedings, saying: “This is a People’s Assembly, this is a People’s Parliament.”

The first speaker was York Central MP Rachael Maskell. She told the assembly:

  • Since 1265 this city has sent members of Parliament down to Westminster – and in fact met here in this city – to stand up and be the voice for the rights of everbody in this city.

    But this week that voice has been silenced. I say no. Today we are going to speak louder than ever and tell Boris Johnson he can never silence us.

    This is our right, this is our democracy, and we will have a say.

Heckler intervenes

One of the many placards at the demonstration
A heckler interrupted Ms Maskell’s speech, shouting: “What about Brexit rights? Traitor of the people – we already voted.”

He was taken to task by others in the crowd and Ms Maskell told him he had a chance to speak later.

“I will do everything possible that our democracy is restored, maintained and built on,” she added.

Other speakers included Liberal Democrat councillor Paula Widdowson who told the People’s Parliament:

  • York voted to remain. Leaving under any deal is not good news for our citizens, for our residents, for our visitors.

    And unfortunately your council are having to use our resources our resources, our time, our energy on Brexit.

The Conservative MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, was invited to attend, the rally was told. He didn’t go, but the Labour candidate for the seat, Anna Perrett, did make a speech criticising the decision to prorogue Parliament.

People’s Parliament gallery