Pro-EU campaigners admit one of their biggest no-deal Brexit fears is rubbish

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 8 August 2019 in Editorial

Pro-EU campaigners have assembled in the heart of Westminster to declare that one of their biggest no-deal Brexit fears is a load of rubbish.

The People’s Vote campaign insists Britain is three months away from a repeat of the 1978 ‘Winter of Discontent’ – when bags infamously piled up on the streets – unless the country can continue to shift its waste over to the continent.

The group, who want a second referendum on whether to quit the EU, made their point by temporarily dumping a few dozen full bin-liners outside Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office on Whitehall.

To hammer home the message one activist chucked a few handfuls of plastic rats among it all.

The stunt comes after emails from the Environment Agency, leaked to the Guardian, revealed that officials were preparing to deal with “[p]utrefying stockpiles” of rubbish after a no-deal exit.

An Environment Agency source, quoted in the article, said, “it could all get very ugly, very quickly” if the UK is unable to export its rubbish to Europe.

Is a repeat of the scenes from forty years ago - a time when fears of economic collapse eventually brought down a government that had been clinging to power - on the cards?

Jane Keane, who attended the rally from the Stand of Defiance European Movement (Sodem), told Total Politics: “I would have thought so. 50% less food?

“People can’t go without McDonalds for a couple of days, all this ‘we can cope’ – they won’t.”

“People haven’t really taken in the detail and very often they don’t until you reach crunch point but I don’t think we’ll actually be leaving.

“I should imagine that stuff like this should help people crystallise their views on what Brexit is. It should start to hit home what Brexit really means.”

Phoebe Potter from Our Future Our Choice added: “There have been stark warnings because we export so much of our rubbish to the EU that we could have serious problems with waste disposal in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“It’s the kind of thing I know looks a bit silly, us taking bin bags, but the point has to be made... it genuinely could be rubbish piling up on our streets so we need to make that very clear.”

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