Blowtorches in Brussels as protesters demand a people’s vote


Anti-Brexit campaigners in Brussels have attempted to destroy mock copies of the Brexit divorce deal with blowtorches and sledgehammers.

Wearing T-shirts that read: “Those who have to live with Brexit don’t want to,” members of Our Future Our Choice, a British pro-EU advocacy group for young people, took to the snowy streets of the Belgian capital to convey their displeasure with Britain’s impending exit.

Aubrey Allegretti

A protesters is using a blowtorch to set fire to the Brexit divorce deal, while another uses a giant hammer to destroy a massive cardboard version

November 25, 2018

The pro-EU campaigner Femi Oluwole was pictured igniting a copy of the 585-page tome, which contains the minutiae of the policy, with an industrial blowtorch. Failing to set it alight completely, he succeeded only in slightly singeing the pages as he leaned away from the flames and grimaced. Later, he was videoed making better progress.

Meanwhile, behind him, another man was seen repeatedly smashing a cardboard version of the divorce deal.

Elsewhere, a shredder was used to reduce a separate copy of document to ribbons, as another fell foul of a pair of garden shears.

Nearby, in the city that houses the European commission, a man wearing both a union jack and an EU flag as a scarf jumped up and down on a small trampoline that read: “Stop.” A child in a pram using the 12-starred flag as a quilt looked on.

Our Future, Our Choice

Our #BattleBus is sending a clear message to @theresa_may here in Brussels: young people didn’t vote for Brexit, and we’re not going to live with it.

November 25, 2018

As part of a protest to coincide with the EU council summit, which on Sunday saw EU leaders back Theresa May’s deal, a battlebus reminiscent of the infamous leave campaign vehicle – which promised to invest £350m per week into the NHS in the event of Brexit – also came to Brussels.

“Dear MPs, 77% of us don’t want Brexit,” read a sign on the side of the bus. “Please stand up for our future.”

If MPs reject the deal, there are seven possible paths the country could go down next.

May brings it back to MPs
Perhaps with minor tweaks after a dash to Brussels. ​MPs knuckle under and vote it through.

May resigns immediately
It is hard to imagine her surviving for long. After a rapid leadership contest, a different leader could appeal to a majority in parliament, perhaps by offering a softer deal.

Tory backbenchers depose her
Jacob Rees-Mogg gets his way and there is a no-confidence vote. A new leader then tries to assemble a majority behind a tweaked deal.

May calls a general election
May could choose to take the ultimate gamble and hope that voters would back her deal, over the heads of squabbling MPs.

Labour tries to force an election
The opposition tables a vote of no confidence. ​If May lost​, the opposition (or a new Conservative leader) would have two weeks to form an alternative government that could win a second confidence vote. If they were unable to do so, a general election would be triggered.

A second referendum gathers support
This is most likely if Labour makes a last-ditch decision to back it. 

No deal
The EU (Withdrawal) Act specifies 29 March 2019 as Brexit day. Amber Rudd has said she believes parliament would stop a no deal, but it is not clear how it would do so.

Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

The campaigners used the occasion to renew calls for a people’s vote. “If we end up with a deal that no part of the country wants, that is a dangerous day for democracy,” Oluwole told activists.

The Green party MEP Molly Scott Cato said: “It would be a total democratic travesty if that deal is forced upon people who voted for something completely different.”



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