An exclusive interview with the pro-EU campaigner best-known as ‘Mr Stop Brexit’ who was just recently voted by our readers ‘PMP Magazine’s Person of the year 2018’.
Over the next few months, before and also after 29 March 2019, I will be interviewing politicians, writers, experts, business leaders and influential individuals out there to ask them questions about Brexit, a People’s Vote and the future of UK Politics...
Welcome to TALK TIME.
Today, my guest is the Stop Brexit campaigner Steve Bray.
Steve Bray, ‘PMP Magazine’s Person of the year 2018’ (Twitter/@PMPmagToday)
• Steve Bray, from Port Talbot in South Wales, has been campaigning to stop Brexit in Parliament since 5 September 2017.
• The campaigner started SODEM, the Stand of Defiance European Movement, effectively a daily Parliament protest.
• He supported Remain in the 2016 EU Referendum.
• Better-known as ‘Mr. Stop Brexit’.
• Steve Bray was recently voted ‘PMP Magazine’s Person of the year 2018’ by our magazine’s readers.
Steve Bray, what did you feel when you got the news that you had been voted ‘PMP Magazine’s Person of the year 2018’ by our readers?
I couldn’t believe it because I had never even won at Bingo before. I’m amazed to have even been on the list with some of the people on it. We were (nearly) all worthy winners. Though, unfortunately, Theresa May was on the list too.
Have you campaigned for either the Leave or the Remain side in the 2016 referendum?
I was a Remain voter in 2016, and I even campaigned against my friends during the referendum campaign. I started campaigning because I felt Brexit was a massive social injustice. Every deprive area, as far as I am aware, voted to Leave. People in these areas will pay the biggest price.
Why did you decide to show up in Parliament every day with your very distinctive hat and your signs to stop Brexit?
I had to do something because the politicians weren’t listening. So, in September 2017, I turned up in Parliament with a flag one day, and I was astounded at the amount of support I received from MPs, journalists, and passers-by.
I got the hat from a charity shop for £2 and spent £8 spray-painting it (it was black flock). The hat is a very symbolic way of getting the Stop Brexit message out — it’s blue and yellow, like the colours of the European flag. The hat was such a great fit that I couldn’t resist.
Tell me, what does the European Union mean to you? And what does Brexit mean to you?
To me, the EU means peace, freedom, freedom of movement and prosperity. It’s the most successful peace project in history and the biggest free trade area ever. It’s an astonishing success story and we should be proud to be part of it.
Brexit means we have failed as a nation.
What does stopping Brexit mean to you?
Stopping Brexit, to me, is democracy in action. It also means the future generations having the same opportunities that I’ve had. I can’t allow those opportunities to be taken away.
What gives you the strength to carry out this ‘duty’ to oppose Brexit in Westminster every day? Do you actually consider it a ‘duty’?
I do consider being at SODEM every day very much a ‘duty’. I have the strength to keep doing this because I know the consequences of what it will mean for the nation.
You served for the UK. Is this similar to you, i.e. do you feel you must help protect Britain from the disaster of Brexit?
Yes, I have served my nation and through SODEM I am continuing to do so. I feel I am galvanising people to stand up and see that you can stand up to adversity and come together for the better good of the nation.
You met many MPs in Parliament since September 2017. Have you ever met the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and maybe had a word of support from him?
I have had one response from Jeremy Corbyn in six encounters. “Not now, I’m busy”. That was at the Labour Conference when I asked him if he had a minute to talk. Jeremy who?
You are supporting a People’s Vote. Why do you think it is important to have a People’s Vote 3 years on?
I want a People’s Vote because the politicians no longer serve us. They’re at stalemate in Parliament. At the end of the day they serve us and if they can’t do their job then we must do it for them.
Do you reckon people have changed their minds?
Have people changed their minds? Absolutely, yes. I have spoken to many people who voted to leave, who have told me categorically “This is not what we voted for.”
What do you say to Brexiters who say we have already had a People’s Vote in 2016?
People who say we have already had a People’s Vote? I tell them we had one in 1975 too.
The media focused last week on the thugs harassing Anna Soubry, Femi and journalists, around Parliament, but didn’t make the point that you and SODEM have been there for a very long time now and there has never been any issue until the thugs appear.
The thugs? They’re only there because of the success of our peaceful protest. I think the police should have served orders on them banning them from a kilometre of Westminster.
A final thing to tell our readers about joining you in Westminster to stop Brexit?
Finally, it’s so important to stop Brexit. If you care enough, and you can, you should join me in Westminster, which is the very best place in our political system to show how you feel.
Steve Bray is outside Parliament, Old Palace Yard, from 11am – 6pm every day that MPs are in session. Everyone is welcome to join him. Follow the blue and yellow flags...
Also, follow Steve Bray on Twitter at: @snb19692.
And if you haven’t already done so, please sign the People’s Vote petition to give people a final say on the Brexit deal.🔷
- Political protests: Who are the Stop Brexit campaigners? (BBC News)
- The one-man campaign against Brexit that's being run from Port Talbot. (Wales Online)
- A day with Mr Stop Brexit: crashing TV interviews and fighting Ukip. (The Guardian)
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)