Leeds for Europe hold anti-Brexit demo as Boris Johnson continues talks with EU
A small, socially-distanced group, holding placards and flags, gathered in City Square on Saturday morning.
Richard Wilson, chairman of Leeds for Europe, said: “It was a timely reminder that any Brexit deal announced in the next few days is going to fall well short of what was promised by Boris Johnson and his allies in 2016.
"It’ll be all pain and no gain for Britain in 2021.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice today (Sunday) warned a breakthrough was needed in the “next few days” if talks with the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal are to succeed.
Negotiations resumed in Brussels after Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen ordered a push to try to overcome the remaining differences.
If there is no agreement, the UK will leave the European single market and customs union on December 31 and begin trading with the bloc on World Trade Organisation terms, with the imposition of tariffs and quotas.
Mr Wilson said: “A ‘No-Deal Brexit’ would be the worst possible outcome for Britain.
"But even the kind of limited, “skinny” deal expected to emerge as a result of last-minute discussions with Brussels will be enormously damaging to the UK.”
Issues being highlighted by Leeds for Europe on Saturday included likely job losses in Leeds because of Brexit and damage to British farming.
Richard Wilson said: “The four-year phoney war is over.
"Ministers can no longer dismiss concerns as “Project Fear” as Brexit’s true consequences blast an economy already ravaged by Covid-19.
"We’ll need a better deal with Europe and eventually, we hope, the opportunity to rejoin the EU.”
He added: “Our ability to mount public demonstrations has obviously been curtailed in 2020.
"We want to see a return in the New Year to the huge, ‘undistanced’ pro-Europe protests we saw in 2019 – especially here in Leeds.”