Why a big vintage red bus is in Leeds city centre today

A big vintage double-decker London bus is in Leeds today as pro EU-campaigners from across Yorkshire launch a high profile tour of the county, urging voters to reject the Prime Minister's Brexit plans.

By Joe Cooper
Monday, 2nd December 2019, 11:16 am
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 11:16 am
Leeds Art Gallery (Photo: Google).
Leeds Art Gallery (Photo: Google).

The tour by a vintage double-decker London bus, emblazoned with the slogans “Love Yorkshire? Stop Brexit” and “Love our NHS? Stop Brexit,” has been organised by an alliance of grassroots pro EU groups.

Over the next two weeks it will be used as a mobile base for campaigners, stopping at more than 20 locations including Leeds, Wetherby, Harrogate, Ripon, Hull and Beverley.

Between 10.30am and 12 noon today, the bus will be located at the Henry Moore Institute at the Headrow.

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The tour by a vintage double-decker London bus, emblazoned with the slogans Love Yorkshire? Stop Brexit and Love our NHS? Stop Brexit, has been organised by an alliance of grassroots pro EU groups.

One of the organisers, Martin Brooks, chair of York for Europe, said: “We’ll be showing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in the struggle to stop the Tories getting a majority and forcing through a calamitous hard Brexit.”

Among passengers on the bus will be up to 30 members of the “Yorkshire Remain Voice Choir” – a group of singers and musicians – that has performed in London, Brussels and across Yorkshire and helped to put Yorkshire at the forefront of the Remain movement.

The choir will perform professionally-arranged pro-EU songs, accompanied by brass and string sections. There will also be performances by the recently launched Yorkshire pro EU street theatre project. A studio has been built inside the bus so members of the public can record videos for social media, saying why they’re voting for parties promising either to stop Brexit outright or to give the people the final say with a People’s Vote.

Richard Sadler, chair of North Yorkshire for Europe, said: “We’re all just volunteers and we’ve never done anything like this before – but we felt at this critical time we had to do something to highlight the threat to our region and the United Kingdom itself from the reckless and irresponsible Brexit policy being pursued by Boris Johnson.

“What Mr Johnson is offering is nothing like what was promised when he led the Leave campaign in 2016. We were told that other EU countries would fall over themselves to do deals with us, it was all going to be easy and there would be more money for the NHS.

“Now we know - from the Government’s own figures- that with Johnson’s deal, our region would take a big economic hit, we’d all be worse off and there would be less money for essential public services – and a real risk of our treasured NHS being run by corporate America.”

The bus is being loaned and driven by Joe Letts, a Harrogate-born businessman who rose to international prominence in 2003, when he took three double-decker bus loads of volunteers from London to Iraq to form human shields around civilian buildings ahead of the US-led invasion.