Sir Patrick Stewart has claimed Jean-Luc Picard – the starship captain he portrayed on television – would have voted to stay in the European Union as the Star Trek actor launched a campaign for a second referendum that could reverse Brexit.
Opponents of Brexit staged a “people power” rally in London yesterday to push for a vote on the final exit deal. They claim the move would give the UK the chance to stay in the EU if voters rejected the terms of Theresa May’s negotiation in Brussels.
The People’s Vote campaign published a poll suggesting a majority want to be given a say on the final Brexit terms, with demand for a second referendum highest in Scotland.
Appearing on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show ahead of the rally, Mr Stewart noted his two best-known roles, Captain Picard and Professor Charles Xavier from X-Men, were “intellectuals” who were “compassionate and concerned for the wellbeing of everyone”.
He added: “They would have voted Remain.”
Foreign Secretary and Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson hit back, dismissing suggestions Brexit was “full of dangerous alien spacecraft waiting to zap us”.
“We will be able to boldly go again to areas that perhaps we’ve neglected over the last few years,” Mr Johnson said.
Mr Stewart, a life-long Labour supporter, said Jeremy Corbyn was a “puzzle” and had a “question mark hanging over his head” over his opposition to a second referendum on the EU and his sacking of pro-EU shadow cabinet members.
The Star Trek actor joined fellow celebrities and politicians from across the political spectrum to launch the People’s Vote campaign in front of a crowd of more than 1,200 people in Camden, north London. Opening the event, Mr Stewart told the audience he supported the People’s Vote because “our country’s future is at stake and we will not stand idly by”.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry said: “Us MPs made a decision that we would have a referendum. Since then, the people have been outside of the process.
“I think the best and right thing to do is to put it back to the people and have a say you can have a vote on this deal.”
Labour MP Chuka Umunna praised his Tory colleague, saying: “We need more Conservative members of Parliament to be as brave as Anna and many others who defied the whip and put their country before their party.
“Also, this whole Punch and Judy, ultra-tribal kind of politics is over and Westminster hasn’t caught up yet.”
Mr Umunna urged the Labour Party “to be true to its values” and support the People’s Vote campaign. The event also heard from the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, who declared: “Brexit is not inevitable”.
A poll commissioned by the campaign group from pollsters Opinium found 52 per cent of voters either some what or strongly support “the public having a vote on the final deal”, compared to 31 per cent who either some what or strongly oppose a second referendum. The strongest support for a second vote is in Scotland at 59 per cent.