Arch-eurosceptic Farage leads march over Brexit betrayal
By Scott Heppell
SUNDERLAND, England March 16 (Reuters) - Nigel Farage, the
politician who probably did more than anyone else to force
Britain's referendum on membership of the European Union, joined
protesters at the start of a 270-mile march over what they call
a betrayal of the Brexit vote.
The march comes after another tumultuous week for Prime
Minister Theresa May in which parliament overwhelmingly rejected
her divorce deal for a second time and lawmakers voted to seek a
delay in Britain's exit from the EU.
In the pouring rain in Sunderland, northeast England, which
was the first place in Britain to declare a vote to leave the
EU, Farage, wearing a flat cap and carrying an umbrella, said
Brexit was now in danger of being scuttled by the establishment.
"We are here in the very week when parliament is doing its
utmost to betray the Brexit result," Farage said. "It is
beginning to look like it doesn't want to leave and the message
from this march is if you think you can walk all over us we will
march straight back to you."
The march, which began with about 100 people, is due to end
at parliament on March 29, the day the United Kingdom was
supposed to leave the EU.
Britain's crisis over EU membership is approaching its
finale as May continues to fight to build support for her
divorce deal, which is expected to be put before lawmakers for a
third time next week. Many Brexit supporters in her own party
oppose the deal, saying it ties Britain too closely to the EU.
May has given those critics an ultimatum - ratify her deal
by Wednesday or face a delay to Brexit way beyond June 30 that
would open up the possibility that the entire departure from the
EU could ultimately be thwarted.
As leader of the eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence
Party, Farage pressured former prime minister David Cameron to
call the Brexit referendum and then helped lead the campaign to
leave the EU. But he quit as the party's leader in the days
after the referendum.
In what pro-EU supporters said was a metaphor for his
decision to walk away from the fallout of Brexit, Farage said he
wouldn't be completing the full two-week walk to London but
would instead join campaigners for about a third of it.
Farage defended that decision and said as a member of the
European Parliament he may have to take part in a vote on
whether to approve the Brexit deal.
"I am quite a busy chap. I have a role in the European
Parliament," Farage said. "Don't forgot the final vote is in the
European Parliament. I think I ought to be there for that one."
(Writing by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Mark Potter)
© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.