Peter Reid and John Barnes join call for second EU referendum at packed-out People's Vote rally

Former Leeds United manager Peter Reid at the People's Vote event in Leeds. Also pictured is former Leeds Rhinos player Gareth Carvell.
Former Leeds United manager Peter Reid at the People's Vote event in Leeds. Also pictured is former Leeds Rhinos player Gareth Carvell.
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Former Leeds-united manager Peter Reid and John Barnes joined calls for a second EU referendum at a packed-out People's Vote rally in Leeds.

The two footballing legends joined a host of celebrities and politicians who are backing a second vote on Brexit.

John Barnes at the People's Vote event in Leeds.

John Barnes at the People's Vote event in Leeds.

Thousands crammed into the New Dock Hall to hear speakers campaign for a People's Vote.

Despite the 1200 capacity of the room, many supporters were left standing as they listened to speakers such as Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn, former Conservative cabinet minister Anna Soubry, Alistair Campbell and former Leeds Rhino star Garreth Carvell.

Guests at the event also heard from young people, NHS staff and former leave voters.

Sunday marks three years to the day since the UK voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Thousands turned up to the People's Vote rally in Leeds.

Thousands turned up to the People's Vote rally in Leeds.

Speaking at the event, Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn said it was time the Labour party came out "loud and clear" in support of a second referendum.

He said: "I have never spoken on a People's Vote platform before, but I too have come to the conclusion that the only way out of this mess is now to give the people a final say.

"So let's say it clearly, let the party that I joined at 17 years of age say it loud and clear - we want a People's Vote."

The MP for Leeds Central told the audience that Leave voters were fed false promises.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn at the People's Vote rally in Leeds.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn at the People's Vote rally in Leeds.

Describing their campaign as a "fantasy", he said: "Our message is very simply this, what was promised in 2016 by the Leave campaign does not exist.

"You cannot have all of our sovereignty and all of the economic benefits. There are choices that we have to make.

"It wasn't true, it isn't true. Brexit will make us poorer, Brexit will make the North poorer. Who voted for that?"

Liverpool and England player, John Barnes, also believes that the public was lied to about Brexit.

He said: "While I’m a respecter of democracy, I think that both sides. particularly the leave side, were lied to in terms of what Brexit would look like.

"Now we have a much more informed idea of what it's going to look like. We know how complicated it is and we know that a lot of things we were told are not going to happen.

“It is fine to change your mind. Changing your mind is democratic. It is too impactful on people’s futures for us to wait and see what happens with Brexit. It’s like jumping off a cliff and saying ‘have you changed your mind’? It’s a bit late then."

Barnes is calling for a second vote which includes three options - a no-deal Brexit, the current Brexit deal or to remain.

The ex-footballer said he would respect the vote if the UK voted again to leave despite being pro-EU.

He joked to crowds: "Would you rather have the European Union making better decisions or ourselves making stupid decisions?"

Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel also attended the event, introducing Hilary Benn by quoting John Barnes' rap in the World Cup classic ‘World in Motion'.

The Labour MP said Brexit should not be left to the decisions of a "few MPs" and is in favour of the public having a second vote.

He said: "It is important that we build support to get a public vote before Boris Johnson crashes out of the EU or makes some sort of pact with Nigel Farage.

“I think it’s really important to recognise that when people voted it wasn’t clear what the shape or form it would take.

“The referendum was a blind referendum but now our eyes are open and we know what is going to happen.

"I have noticed in my constituency that a lot of people who voted to leave have changed their minds. The three years have made them pause and reflect and now they’d vote remain.”

“Brexit should not be a decision of a few MPs but needs to be about the whole country and what it wants and needs."

A doctor from Leeds also gave a speech warning that Brexit would be "trouble" for health services in the city.

Hannah Barnham-Brown, an NHS doctor, said: “We [the British Medical Association] said from the start that Brexit will be trouble for the nation’s health services. Now we have done more research we have we have found that is the case.

“We have to do what's best for the people rather than stubborn sticking to our guns and believing the pack of lies that we have been told.

“Here in Leeds, we have a large population of NHS staff from the EU. We are already losing them and Brexit has not happened yet. As a country, we will really struggle to staff the health service.

“As a doctor, I prescribe the best treatments given on the best evidence. The evidence here shows Brexit is bad for the NHS. We have to do what is best for the country.”

Meanwhile, Alastair Campbell, the former spokesman for ex-prime minister Tony Blair, and who was recently expelled from the Labour party, told the crowd that there is "no mandate" for a no-deal Brexit.

Explaining how the event marked the launch of People's Vote North, he said: "It is time to revoke the long-held media myth that the North is this mass of angry, decrepit Brexiteers."

The People's Vote campaign plans to run more rallies in 15 towns and cities across the country, culminating with a march in London on October 12.