Dozens of pro-EU campaigners undeterred by sub-zero temperatures demanded ‘an exit from Brexit’ as they welcomed a ‘banned’ bus to Oxford city centre.
The bus, emblazoned with ‘Brexit to cost £2,000million a week’, stopped at Oxford’s Bonn Square for about an hour on Monday as part of its 33-stop national tour.
Speakers, including actor Sir Patrick Stewart and Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran, roused campaigners, as well as stirring a reaction from hecklers.
Sir Patrick said: “I want to urge that we think again, now that we are learning the real cost of Brexit.
“At the front of all our passports, the words read: European Union and then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“If Brexit happens, those first two words will be erased and I will offer it to immigration officials around the world with less pride than I presently do.”
“The first time I was on the continent after the [EU] referendum it was on the colourful streets of Ghent and Bruges.
“I felt distinctly uncomfortable, bordering on shame, that my country was now seeking to unravel all that had been achieved.”
Mrs Moran added: “I believe in miracles, I really do. Do you remember how we deprived Theresa May of her hard Brexit at the last election?
“Since being elected last June I feel like I’ve had the front row seat to a car crash. It is time to stop this.”
Other speakers included Cathie Wood (Oxford for Europe), Catherine Bearder MEP (Liberal Democrat, South East England), Dr Helen de Cruz (Oxford Brookes University), Drew Galdron (Boris Johnson impersonator), Pater Burke (Oxford GP) and Elise Benjamin (Green Party and former Lord Mayor of Oxford).
Hecklers cut in accusing the campaigners of being undemocratic.
Oxfordshire County Council refused to allow the bus to stop on Broad Street, where organisers Oxford for Europe had wanted it to park.
The authority said it had to be politically neutral but after admitting it was wrong to do so, refused it as the event did not merit removing traffic restrictions.
The tour began in Camden and Islington on Wednesday last week and concluded in Luton yesterday.