These Britons Are Fighting To Remain in Europe

Leeds for Europe's Work Attracts Recognition in France!

With a circulation of around 800,000, Ouest-France is the most-read daily newspaper in France.  On 29 May 2018 a report on our campaign made the headlines on page 2, focusing on one of our recent street stalls in Briggate and interviewing the people involved.  It is great news that our efforts are attracting international recognition!  Thanks to the efforts of a number of members of the Twitter community, we can present a translation of the article here:

Seen from France, it’s difficult to imagine to what extent Brexit has split the United Kingdom.  The referendum has divided families, broken friendships, upset good neighbourly relations.  “I have friends I don’t talk to anymore“, says Stephen Davis (photo above).  A teacher of German, Russian and French in a Bradford school, near Leeds, Stephen is a member of the Scottish National party (supporters of independence) and is fiercely pro-European. “I’m 59 years old, and this will be the first time in my life I am losing rights. It’s tragic.” 

n the colourful university town of Leeds, there are about 15 members of the movement ‘Leeds for Europe’ handing out Stop Brexit leaflets in the main shopping street, of a Saturday morning.  Supporting them, they claim, are some 30,000 activists around the country who are pressing for a second referendum.  All of them see the struggle as being the only escape from a reality which they believe to be unbearable.

Too Many Lies

On social networks the most motivated post dozens of messages, tirelessly repeating the same phrases which they pass from group to group.  An organised movement, which a year and a half after the vote, shows no signs of running out of steam.  In March, a pro-European demonstration saw several thousands take to the streets in Leeds.  All are now getting ready for a big gathering in London, on the 23rd of June.

“The last campaign was based on lies” insists Richard Wilson, accountant and member of the Green Party and leader of Leeds for Europe.  “Now that we know what a mess this puts the country in, we believe people have the right to vote again“.  For many observers, a second vote seems improbable.  On the one hand because this could further complicate an already extremely complicated situation.  On another, because even if the United Kingdom were to change its mind and ask to stay in the European union (EU), it is not sure this is legally possible, as article 50 has been triggered.  Thirdly, because, according to a number of opinion polls people have not much shifted their opinions since the vote.

"I'm Ashamed"

“What upsets me about Brexit, is what it says about our country” reflects Trevor Andrews, IT specialist and ex-activist for the Conservative Party.  “We have become inward looking, supporting nationalism - you can’t imagine how ashamed I feel.”  If Trevor Andrews abandoned his lifelong party after the referendum, Tracey Vose, for her part has handed in her Labour membership; the left-wing party has a very ambiguous stance over Brexit.  “Labour is not playing the part of an opposition so we, the citizens are doing it“ she says.
Stranger in Her Own Country

Parties that are out of touch, workers who are less well off, retired people who are struggling every month to make ends meet, everything gives the impression of a country in crisis.  In such a context, one can understand that for some, this referendum was an occasion to express anger, little matter whether it was directed towards the European Union or not.

“It’s not the fault of voters“, says Deborah Stratton, an activist. “Our elected representatives did not know how to explain the positives of Europe: the grants that it gives to the poorer regions of the UK for public services, for example”.

For a family that stops at the stall, there are more immediate questions.  Caroline is a physics teacher at a school and is French.  Her husband, Jorgen, is German and teaches at Leeds University.  The family has been living here for 17 years.  What will become of the daughter Chloe, 15 years old, born in England and who has a French nationality?  She has only known life in the United Kingdom, but will she be seen as a foreign student and not have the same rights as others?  “We don’t know“ says Jorgen. “Quite apart from the psychological effect of living in a country which suddenly makes it known that it doesn’t want you anymore”.

You can read and share the online version of this report here:!preferred/1/package/24746/pub/35581/page/6

Reportage - Kate Stent for Ouest-France
Translation - @BrexitGremlin

Cookridge Street, Leeds, 23 February 2018

A red bus emblazoned with the slogan ‘Brexit to cost £2,000 million a week’’ visited Leeds in February 2018, as part of a nationwide tour.

Charles Seaford, one of the organisers, said:

“This is a light-hearted attempt to draw attention to a very big  issue. The Government’s own leaked analysis is that Brexit with a Free Trade Agreement will cost us 5% of GDP after 15 years. At today’s prices that means being £2,000 million a week poorer than we otherwise would have been. To put this impact in context, we currently spend £2,500 million a week on the NHS across the UK.
"Vote Leave’s bus falsely claimed that we send the EU £350 million a week when the true cost is more like £200 million a week.  Now the Government’s own analysis shows the hit to our economy from leaving the EU will be ten times as great as the cost of staying in.  Leaving without a trade deal, as some people are willing to do, will cost £3,200 million a week or sixteen times the price of EU membership.  Some people might be willing to pay that price but many more will ask ‘Is it worth it?’"

A fair, balanced and fully-sourced summary of the various likely Brexit scenarios is set out at

During its 8 day tour, the bus made 33 stops in towns and cities across the country at which there were events featuring local business people, trade unionists, and politicians.

Around 670 individuals across Britain contributed an average of £24 each to make the tour possible and 20 local grassroots groups - including Leeds for Europe - organised the events.

Shine A Light 4 Europe
Sunday, 25 February 2018 at 6.30pm

On February 25th of this year, an event took place simultaneously across the whole of Europe at 18:30 GMT.  People gathered across the Europe and beyond to express their pro-EU sentiment and to stand up for the values of light, cooperation and solidarity in the face of Brexit.  Many lit up torches, mobile phones or any other lights they chose.

In some cities around the UK people met outside their local BBC Studio.  Leeds for Europe were proud to support this initiative.  We met outside the BBC Yorkshire studios at St. Peter's Square, Leeds, shone lights and proudly played Ode to Joy for the bemused public on an exceptionally cold winter's eve!

Public Meeting - Brexit: Its Impact on Education, Research & Innovation
Leeds Civic Hall, 25 November 2017​​

At this, the fourth in our series of public meetings we were again treated to a pair of excellent speakers in Linda McAvan MEP, and Dr Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for EU.  A packed audience heard a first hand account from Mike Galsworthy of the devastating impact that Brexit is likely to have on industries which are vital to the UK's future if we want to continue to be at the cutting edge of new innovation.  Linda McAvan spoke of the exclusion of the UK from European co-operation as uncertainty over future funding arrangements and freedom of movement cast a cloud over the academic and research communities.

The audience made a series of well-argued points and intelligent questions before Vie Clerc Lusandu of 'In Limbo: Brexit Testimonies from EU Citizens in the UK' rounded an enthralling afternoon off with a moving account from this hugely important book.  The meeting was followed by an enjoyable social event at which many of the participants shared their views on the current dire state of the Brexit process.
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Stop Brexit March - Manchester

1 October 2017

Leeds for Europe were proud to participate in the massive Stop Brexit march in Manchester, timed to coincide with the Conservative Party conference.

A good number of us took the train down and made sure that Yorkshire was well represented, sending a strong message to Theresa May that opposition to her reckless Brexit remains as strong as ever!

Stop Brexit Day of Action - 16 September 2017

Leeds for Europe held our biggest Day of Action against Brexit to date on Saturday, 16 September 2017.  The day began with a rally in Dortmund Square, where a dazzling array of speakers addressed an enthralled crowd.​

We then moved to Leeds Town Hall, where a Brexit Question Time gave an audience of over 100 people the chance to hear from a panel consisting of Richard Corbett MEP, Emmy van Deurzen of New Europeans, Professor Alan Carling, Martin Hemingway of Leeds Green Party and local businessman Damian Kelly.

Many of the audience were also moved by the contribution of the team behind the recently published book "In Limbo: Brexit Testimonies from EU Citizens in the UK'.

The day was rounded off with an enjoyable social event in a local wine bar.

Campaign Stalls - Summer 2017

Leeds for Europe were campaigning hard throughout the summer. We held a regular street stall on Briggate in the centre of Leeds. 

Street stalls have been extremely important in our fight to stop Brexit.  Every weekend more and more people sign up at our stalls to receive information. We are mobilising the people of Leeds to say no to Brexit and yes to Europe. 

Join us and help fight Brexit. If you want to volunteer at our street stall, message us on the Contact Us tab. 

One Year On - 24 June 2017

This date marked the anniversary of what is widely regarded as the most catastrophic act of self-harm undertaken by any state since the Second World War, in which a mismanaged and illegitimate plebiscite allowed a minority of the electorate to determine the future of the country. 

To mark the event, Leeds for Europe gathered in City Square to protest in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union.  With the government in chaos,  with no plan, no majority and no guarantee of getting any legislation through the commons, the chances that Brexit will now happen seem doubtful to say the least.

If there ever was a time to protest and put pressure on your elected representatives, now is that time. 

AC Grayling - Fighting for Europe 

Saturday 20 May 2017

Leeds for Europe were delighted to host 'Fighting for Europe', a talk by Professor AC Grayling, one of the leading figures of the remain movement.  Former Leeds MP Michael Meadowcroft also spoke at the event in the main chamber of Leeds Civic Hall.

The event was truly inspirational and provided much intellectual ammunition for our ongoing fight against the stupidity of Brexit.

Brexit and the Political Crash

The Convention on Brexit and the Political Crash – May 12th and 13th – hosted the debate that is absent from Parliament on the impact of Brexit, and focused on the dangers currently posed to democratic and liberal values in Britain and across the west.

Leeds for Europe were pleased to be represented at the convention and helped out on the Britain for Europe exhibition stand throughout the event. 

French Journalists visit Leeds
7 May 2017

We helped out some French journalists, Mathilde and Sophie, from 'Toi d'Europe' who were making a documentary about young people's views on Europe. 

If you want to see the finished documentary you can find it at

NHS themed campaign stall
1 April 2017

We held a themed campaign stall in Leeds to mark the Leeds March for the NHS, one of the largest marches in Leeds for years. 

Click here to view our leaflet highlighting the damage Brexit is already doing to the NHS.

Article 50 Protest 
29 March 2017

We were out in force on the Town Hall steps to mark the triggering of Article 50.  We were promoting the message that Article 50 is reversible and that the real battle to save Britain from Brexit has only just begun. 

The protest was featured on BBC Radio Leeds and Radio Aire, as well as attracting a great deal of attention on social media.

Unite for Europe March
25 March 2017

We organised a coach to take a large group down to London for the Unite for Europe March. 

The march was the largest anti-brexit march so far with well over 100,000 people taking part. 

Speakers included Tim Farron, Nick Clegg, Alastair Campbell, David Lammy MP, Richard Corbett MEP and our own Tom Brufatto, chair of Britain for Europe. 
click here for videos and photos of the event

Brexit - what next? 
18 March 2017

We booked the Council Chambers at the Civic Hall in Leeds for this event. Professor Michael Dougan an expert on EU Law and Richard Corbett MEP spoke at meeting.

The event was extremely well attended. Michael Dougan delivered a damning critique of the governments negotiating position while Richard Corbett outlined how brexit can be stopped. 

There were so many excellent questions from the extremely well-informed audience that the event ran over by about 50 minutes. 

If you missed the talk, read the summary here

Stop the Silence Campaign 11 March 2017

We have been supporting the Stop the Silence campaign. Whether you voted leave or remain the current governement has taken an ever more extreme position on Brexit with a promise to leave the single market and the customs union. Furthermore, they are proposing to walk away from the negotiations if they do not get the deal they want. 

This position was not made clear during the referendum campaign with frequent references that Europe would allow Britain to continue with tariff free trade with the rest of Europe. 
Stop the Silence Video
Campaigning against Brexit in Newcastle

North East for Europe march
Newcastle, 4 March 2017

We had a great turnout at this event with 6 members of Leeds for Europe present. The event was extremely well organised with a great line up of speakers including Professor AC Grayling and Richard Corbett MEP. Madeleina Kay provided the musical highlights.  

Campaigning against brexit in Newcastle

One day without us
20 February 2017

Campaigning against brexit
We we proud to support this campaign. The government's decision to enact the result of the advisory referendum on the 23rd June has badly affected the lives of EU citizens in the UK. Many, who have lived in the UK for years and even decades now suffer from the uncertainty that they may have to leave the country they call home.

Leeds for Europe attended the march and were present at the rally on the town hall steps.  

Campaign stalls in Leeds City Centre 11th, 18th, 25th February, 4th and 11th March

Fighting brexit in Leeds
We started holding campaign stalls in Leeds City Centre in February. The stall was located outside WH Smiths on Lands Lane. The stalls have helped us promote our message and increase our membership. 
Campaigning against Brexit in Leeds

European Movement conference 'Where are we and what can we do'
Sheffield, 4 February 2017

Leeds for Europe attended this event which was extremel successful. Keynote speakers included Sir Andrew Cook, Chair of William Cook Holdings, Prof Chris Husbands, VC of Sheffield Hallam University and Paul Blomfield MP, member of the Shadow Brexit Team. 

Following the event members from the European movement joined Leeds for Europe and York for Europe delegates in discussing ways of fighting Brexit.