PROTESTORS have united outside the city’s corridors of power to tell the government it cannot ‘claim to protect our democracy while destroying it’.
Demonstrators from across the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Green Party joined forces in Guildhall Square last night for Portsmouth’s take on the national Stop the Coup movement.
The rally called for a reversal of prime minister Boris Johnson’s move to suspend Parliament next week, with many arguing for a general election or a total scrap of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Grandmother-of-four Lyn Surgeon, from Portsmouth, took to the Guildhall’s steps for her first ever speech at a rally, amid fears of repercussions of Brexit on the younger generation.
‘I was invited to speak by the organiser and initially I said no,’ she said.
‘But I owed it to my grandchildren. It was quite scary but worth it.
‘Boris Johnson pretends he is a man of people but he’s an Etonian – and he is acting like a king.’
Mr Johnson announced plans to prorogue Parliament for 25 working days a week ago, with a Queen’s speech setting out the government’s plans for the future set to take place on October 14.
But the decision prompted backlash from critics who claimed it contravened democracy and would force MPs out of the Brexit debate in the run-up to the October 31 EU withdrawal deadline with no deal in place.
Portsmouth Labour member, Rod Bacon, joined the city’s Momentum group to protest last night.
‘I think it was a dubious measure to try and get out of Europe with a no-deal Brexit without any Parliamentary interference,’ he said.
‘Brexiteers say they're in defence of the sovereignty of Parliament, and yet, when push comes to shove, they're quite willing to dismiss Westminster so they can get their policies through. I regard that as completely undemocratic and hypocritical'.
As the demonstration wound up, one tongue-in-cheek chant, led by Portsmouth Lib Dem member Simon Sansbury, branded Mr Johnson a ‘dinlo’.
‘It’s saying he’s behaving like an idiot,’ said Mr Sansbury. ‘Strategically and tactically, he’s playing a bit of a blinder because he’s doing a very good job at outmanoeuvring everyone else.
'But what he's done this week is miscalculated. He’s caused the remain-supporting parties to ally with each other and join together.’