Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine is to give the keynote address at a conference in Leeds organised by campaigners calling for a new Brexit referendum and for the UK to remain in the European Union.
The peer will appear at The Great Northern Stop Brexit Conference at The Met Hotel on September 7 alongside speakers such as Leeds MP Hilary Benn, Liberal Democrat MEP Shaffaq Mohammed and former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
Topics to be discussed at the conference which is organised by volunteers from the group Leeds for Europe, include climate change, populism and the far right, the threat posed to democracy by new technology and closing the generation gap.
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Lord Heseltine said: “I look forward to visiting Leeds again and speaking at this important event. The social and economic problems that continue to persist in the North will get disproportionately worse if there is a destructive No Deal.
"This gathering crisis comes down to a simple question about whether we live in a democracy - can we allow [Prime Minister Boris] Johnson to force No Deal on our country without all of us having our voice heard.”
Lord Heseltine, a Conservative party stalwart and a Cabinet Minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, has been a vocal campaigner for remaining in the EU and had the whip suspended in May after saying he could vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections.
Richard Wilson, chairman of Leeds for Europe and lead organiser, said: “This was not meant to be an annual event. Yet the truth is, there will be many more if we crash out with No Deal, as it will mark the beginning of years of arguments and negotiations.
“We now know that Yorkshire will be one of the hardest hit regions if we suffer a No Deal, or similar vicious form of Brexit, so it’s important we, the people of Yorkshire an d other parts of the UK, come together and demand that our voices are heard at this crucial time.”
“That Lord Heseltine will share the same platform as Hilary Benn shows how our campaign crosses the political divide, but it must cross all divides.
"For this is about having pride in our county and pride in our country, and not allowing Brexit to remove opportunities for our young people, destroy jobs and damage to our NHS, and drastically reduce our nation’s influence in the world.”
Tickets cost £20 and are available at www.leedsforeurope.org.