Jeremy Corbyn last night declared activists were ‘right to take to the streets’ over the suspension of Parliament – as thousands of protesters were set to disrupt dozens of cities today.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Dawn Butler, Labour’s equalities spokesman, will take part in the largest rally against Boris Johnson’s decision in London.
Meanwhile Left-wing group Momentum is calling on its members to ‘occupy bridges and blockade roads’ in conjunction with the so-called ‘Stop The Coup’ protests.
Mr Corbyn, pictured above in Calderbank, near Glasgow, tweeted: ‘The public outrage at Boris Johnson shutting down democracy has been deafening. People are right to take to the streets – and I encourage everyone to join the demonstrations in London and across the country’
One senior activist suggested demonstrators could even march on Buckingham Palace to challenge the Queen’s role in the affair.
Disruption was planned across 32 cities today – with Momentum promising more than 80 demonstrations over the next week.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Dawn Butler, Labour’s equalities spokesman, will take part in the largest rally against Boris Johnson’s decision in London
Widespread protests are planned in cities including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth and Nottingham.
Youth movements including the UK Student Climate Network also pledged their support yesterday.
Mr Corbyn tweeted: ‘The public outrage at Boris Johnson shutting down democracy has been deafening. People are right to take to the streets – and I encourage everyone to join the demonstrations in London and across the country.’
Mr McDonnell said: ‘Boris Johnson’s attempts to shut down democracy are being resisted by the people. Whether you voted for Remain or Leave, the people did not vote for No Deal for which there is no mandate.
‘As elected Labour MPs across the country represent their constituents by joining in these protests, I urge other MPs to think of their constituents whose jobs and livelihoods will be put at risk in a No Deal Brexit.’
John McDonnell, pictured at a protest this week, said: ‘Boris Johnson’s attempts to shut down democracy are being resisted by the people. Whether you voted for Remain or Leave, the people did not vote for No Deal for which there is no mandate’
Laura Parker, Momentum’s national co-ordinator, said: ‘We have a barely-elected millionaire prime minister who is happy to exploit a loophole in our flawed democracy to force through a Trump-first, No Deal Brexit.
‘He is part of the same tiny, privileged elite which has been hoarding power at the top and eroding our democracy for decades.
‘There are thousands of people from all over the UK and across the political spectrum who will protest to stop Johnson closing the doors on our democracy.
‘No one voted for this, and it’s clear we need to urgently re-design our system to rebalance power away from the top.’
Disruption was planned across 32 cities today – with Momentum promising more than 80 demonstrations over the next week. People are pictured above protesting against Jacob Rees Mogg in Midsomer Norton, Bath
Yesterday Baroness Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney general, vowed to use ‘any means necessary’ – including public protests – to prevent the Prime Minister leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
In response to suggestions the Government could seek to delay Royal Assent to any legislation to block No Deal, the peer told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We do know that we are dealing with a bunch of people who have no respect for our precious constitution.
‘If they try any more of this stuff we will use any means necessary to prevent this undemocratic behaviour – that includes people taking to the streets, that includes people taking to the airwaves, that includes people going to court.
‘Because they are behaving in a way that is unworthy of a UK government.’
Ex-aide who wants chaos on streets
Laura Parker, 49, is the hard-Left group’s national coordinator who has been urging supporters to ‘shut down the streets’
The Momentum militant hoping to bring Britain to a standstill is Jeremy Corbyn’s former private secretary.
Laura Parker, 49, is the hard-Left group’s national coordinator who has been urging supporters to ‘shut down the streets’.
The activist faced criticism last year after she dismissed widespread claims of anti-Semitism and bullying within the group as ‘mud-slinging’ and smears.
Unlike many of Corbyn’s key allies, Miss Parker, who is the daughter of a university professor and a school teacher, attended her local comprehensive in Leeds.
She graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Latin American studies and a master’s in public administration, and speaks Italian, Spanish, French, Romanian, Bulgarian and Portuguese.
She is married to Italian entrepreneur and politician Stefano Ciccone, 55, with whom she shares a very modern living arrangement. She told The Times last year that her ‘capitalist’ husband lives in Italy while she shares a rented house with a friend in Clapham, south-west London, because she cannot afford to buy in the capital.
When Miss Parker stood down as private secretary to Mr Corbyn in September 2017 after 19 months in the job, it was described as ‘a big loss to the operation’.
She later became Momentum’s national coordinator and stood as a Labour candidate in the European Parliament elections this year.
Of her election campaign, she wrote on her Facebook: ‘If elected as an MEP, I’ll work to build an internationalist, socialist movement that will link up activists and campaigns across the continent.
‘This is a cause that is close to my heart. I lived and worked in Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium and Italy for 17 years of my life, and my husband is an EU citizen facing the same uncertainty millions of others face.’
Before entering politics, she spent 15 years working for children’s charities.
Labour MP Clive Lewis also called for people to support the Stop The Coup protests.
The shadow Treasury minister said: ‘The right to peacefully protest and show your displeasure and anger is a long-held British tradition. No one is calling for riots or aggravation. This is about people peacefully demonstrating.
‘A peaceful protest can be marching, but it can also be sitting down in roads.’
Further mass demonstrations – organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – are planned to take place on Tuesday to coincide with MPs returning to Westminster.
Michael Chessum, Momentum’s national organiser, said he expects to see ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people taking part in the demonstrations across the UK today.
He said: ‘This process needs to force the Government to change its course.’
He added: ‘We are encouraging civil disobedience, in whatever form that takes.
‘It might mean shutting down bridges, it might mean marching to Buckingham Palace and protesting the Queen. There will be disruption and I’m sorry for that but in the face of what Boris is planning, it will be worth it.
‘The suffragettes burnt down the home of David Lloyd George, the chancellor of the exchequer – I’m sure that was disruptive for him.’
Left-wing group Momentum is calling on its members to ‘occupy bridges and blockade roads’ in conjunction with the so-called ‘Stop The Coup’ protests. A protest earlier this week is pictured above
The Jo Cox Foundation, which was set up in the wake of the Labour MP’s murder in 2016, warned that anger over Brexit ‘should not spill over into something more dangerous’.
In a statement, the foundation said: ‘People have an absolute right to protest, whether in Parliament, on demonstrations or in the media. We believe strongly in freedom of speech. But we would urge everybody to avoid saying or doing anything that could incite or lead to violence.’
The threat of protests has also forced the cancellation of the Westminster Dog Of The Year competition next Thursday.
The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, who organised the event, said: ‘This is due to concerns about the increase in protests around Parliament.
‘Ensuring the safety of the dogs and the MPs taking part is absolute priority.’