Harrogate's MP has given his reaction to news that the town is to host a mass 'Stop Brexit Betrayal' rally headlined by Nigel Farage and leading Brexiteers.
The town will find itself at the centre of the national political storm as one of only six UK locations chosen to welcome a mass 'Save Brexit' tour next month.
The ‘Stop Brexit Betrayal’ arena tour will kick off this weekend at University of Bolton Stadium this Saturday before heading for Birmingham, Torquay, Bournemouth, Gatehead and then Harrogate.
Due to take place at Harrogate Convention Centre on Saturday, October 20, the public rally is is expected to create controversy in a district which voted narrowly for Remain in the 2016 referendum.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones told the Harrogate Advertiser he had had no knowledge of the rally in Harrogate until he read news of it on this newspaper’s website.
He said: “The Government is implementing the mandate of the British people expressed in the referendum in 2016 so there is no need to ‘Save Brexit’. It was part of our manifesto at the 2017 election.
“I do, however, welcome very much organisations bringing their investment to the Harrogate district because of its world-class conference and exhibition facilities. It’s a good choice that they have made.”
Organisers Leave Means Leave, whose leading figures include Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis, say Harrogate has been chosen to stage the rally as it is a “beautiful and central” location in Yorkshire which voted in favour of Brexit as a whole.
A spokesperson for LML said: “We are very excited to be hosting one of our events in beautiful Harrogate,
“Harrogate Convention Centre has been chosen due to its beautiful venue and great facilities.
The fact that the venue in Harrogate is so central in Yorkshire makes it an ideal location for us to host our loyal supporters and really get the message out there against Theresa May’s Chequers proposals on the EU.”
Harrogate & Knaresborough Constituency Labour Party is predicting protests at the event which will star former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Labour MP Kate Hoey MP and Owen Paterson MP.
Although many local party members are heading for a major pro-Remain rally in London on the same day, as are representatives of Peoples Vote North Yorkshire for Europe, others are set to stay behind to voice their anger at the Harrogate venue.
Margaret Smith, chair of Harrogate & Knaresborough Constituency Labour Party, said: “Harrogate District voted to Remain in the EU and we believe access to European markets for goods and services is vital for Britain.
“Our members are already are looking to demonstrate their feelings in Harrogate on that day.
“The indications are that other people will be show their displeasure at the rally in Harrogate, too.”
Harrogate is becoming used to supporters of a ‘hard Brexit’ coming to town.
Last Friday saw a visit by Jacob Mr Rees-Mogg who set the car among the pigeons when Harrogate Labour Party members attending a talk by Richard Corbett MEP, spotted the leading Brexiteer and invited him in for a debate, which he reportedly declined.
Rees-Mogg, who also met up with Andrew Jones MP, was in Harrogate for a long-standing constituency fund-raiser at a Harrogate Grammar School.
The An Evening with….’ style event saw local Conservative Party members and friends invited to ask questions of Mr Rees-Mogg.
The result in the Harrogate district in the 2016 Brexit referendum was: 51% voting to remain (48,211) and 49% (46,374) voting to leave from a total of 94,653 votes cast.
The Yorkshire and Humber result was: 58 per cent to 42 per cent in favour of Brexit.
A total of 1,580,937 people were for leave and 1,158,937 for remain from more than 2.5 million votes cast.
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