LONDON (Reuters) - An anti-Brexit campaign bus was forced into a reversal of its own on Wednesday as it got stuck in a narrow side-street in central London during its first day on the road.
Pro-European Union campaigners launched the bus against Britain’s planned exit from the EU from outside parliament as it started an eight-day tour of Britain.
The large red campaign bus emblazoned with the slogan “Brexit to cost £2,000 million a week” had a difficult start to its journey, however, getting stuck as it struggled to drive down a lane in the central Westminster district.The bus’s aesthetic and slogan refer to the famous claim by Brexit campaigners that leaving the EU would free up 350 million pounds ($487.90 million) per week to be spent on improving the state-run National Health Service (NHS).
The 350 million pounds message, plastered across buses driven around the country by Brexiteers ahead of the June 2016 EU referendum, became symbolic of their “Take Back Control” campaign. Their side prevailed by 52 to 48 percent in the vote.
Pro-Remain members of parliament and campaigners gathered for Wednesday’s launch of the “is it worth it?” bus and called for a public vote on the terms of any Brexit deal once it has been reached with Brussels.
“Brexit in the form that it was promised to the British people with 350 million pounds extra per week going to the NHS, it’s simply undeliverable, it’s not going to happen. And what we’re doing today is highlighting that fact,” opposition Labour lawmaker Chuka Umunna told Reuters.
Opponents of Brexit are trying to mobilize to stop Britain’s departure from the EU, scheduled for March 2019, even as polls show little sustained appetite for a reversal. On Monday, a new anti-Brexit party was launched. The new bus campaign was started by non-partisan grassroots groups based in London. It will visit 33 locations during its eight-day tour of Britain.
Last month, Foreign Secretary and prominent Leave campaigner Boris Johnson said the extra 350 million pound promised for public services after Brexit was actually an underestimate, and that the figure would be greater.
($1 = 0.7174 pounds)
Reporting by Emily Roe; writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Mark Heinrich