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Brexit passions run high at King's Lynn protest

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The passions still felt over Brexit, more than three years on from the referendum, were clear for all to see during a protest event in Lynn today.

Dozens of pro-Europe protesters staged a “Stop the Coup” demonstration in the town centre, against the government’s move to suspend Parliament for several weeks next month.

But not everyone was pleased to see them, with one onlooker shouting “Go Home” and another being spoken to by police for swearing at them.

Pro-EU protesters at the 'Stop the Coup' demonstration in Lynn (15965711)
Pro-EU protesters at the 'Stop the Coup' demonstration in Lynn (15965711)

Officials from the Norfolk for Europe group, which organised the event, said they were “delighted” with the turnout for the protest, which coincided with similar demonstrations in towns and cities across the country.

Participants shouted slogans including “Stop the Coup” and “No-one voted for Boris” in reference to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who sought the prorogation of Parliament last week.

And, despite the insistence from North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham that ministers still want to do a deal with Brussels, Norfolk For Europe vice-chairman Stephen McNair accused the government of pursuing a course without a political mandate.

He described a no deal outcome as “crazy”, adding: “Nobody voted for no deal. No deal was never offered in the referendum.”

But there were also angry comments towards hecklers who accused the demonstrators of being “unpatriotic”.

One of them said he was pleased with Mr Johnson’s approach, saying: “He’s the only one who’s got any balls”, while other shoppers could be heard questioning whether there was any point to the protest at all.

But, with opponents of his decision potentially seeking to pass new laws stopping a no deal outcome or table a motion of no confidence in his administration, it seems highly likely there will be some form of political showdown on the issue when MPs return to Westminster today.

And with many analysts predicting an early general election will be called, Ruth Jolley, the Brexit Party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk, said the government still needed to make its strategy for leaving the European Union clear.

She said: “It [prorogation] limits the time available for the remain lobby to sabotage a ‘clean break’ October exit, but also makes a confidence motion in the Conservative government more likely.

“There are still unanswered questions as to whether the Prime Minister intends to pursue a reheated version of May’s Withdrawal Agreement or whether he will really go for a proper and meaningful Brexit.”

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