HUNDREDS of campaigners have descended on London today to demand a Final Say referendum on Brexit.

Three coaches of people from York are among more than 170 coaches taking thousands of campaigners from across the UK to the capital to join the rally, organised by The People's Vote campaign.

Another 100-plus people from York are thought to have travelled independently to join up with the York coach passengers.

MPs are sitting today for the first Saturday since the Falklands War to decide the fate of Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a Commons showdown as he urges MPs to vote for his new deal, which was approved by the EU in Brussels on Thursday.

The Final Say rally will begin at midday at Park Lane and head to Parliament, calling for a vote on any EU withdrawal agreement.

Martin Brooks, chair of York for Europe, said they were coming together in the capital to demand that their voices were heard before Boris Johnson "inflicts a damaging Brexit on our country".

Boris Johnson has urged MPs to back his Brexit deal telling them that the time had come to heal the rift in British politics over the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

As Parliament sits for the first time on a Saturday in 37 years, the Prime Minister said the agreement he has struck with Brussels would allow the UK to leave "whole and entire" on October 31.

Oliver Letwin, the former Cabinet minister who had the Tory whip withdrawn after rebelling over Brexit, said it was an "insurance policy" to prevent Britain "crashing out" without a deal on October 31.

York Press:

Picture: ©UK Parliament_Jessica Taylor

But Government sources reportedly warned that if it passed would render the proceedings meaningless and they would simply send Tory MPs home.

After Commons Speaker John Bercow confirmed that he had selected Sir Oliver's amendment for debate, Mr Johnson appealed to MPs to reject it.

"This is momentous occasion for our country and our Parliament," he said.

"It would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote, which is what I believe this House has been convoked to do, were to be taken away from us."

Mr Johnson called for MPs to reconcile their differences over Brexit.

He told MPs: "The House will need no reminding that this is the second deal and the fourth vote, three-and-a-half years after the nation voted for Brexit.

"And during those years friendships have been strained, families divided and the attention of this House consumed by a single issue that has at times felt incapable of resolution.

"But I hope that this is the moment when we can finally achieve that resolution and reconcile the instincts that compete within us."

York Press:

©UK Parliament_Jessica Taylor

The vote appears to be on a knife edge, with Mr Johnson's one-time allies in the DUP threatening to vote against it.

The Prime Minister received an early boost when Steve Baker, the leader of the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group, said he expected members "overwhelmingly" to back the deal.

However, former chancellor Philip Hammond said that he would be among the MPs backing the Letwin amendment.

"The Letwin amendment gives us an insurance policy that prevents us having to look at this Bill against the constant threat of the Government to pull the plug and crash us out on October 31," he told the BBC.

"We have to remove any risk of leaving on October 31 with no deal."

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour could not back a deal that was even worse than Theresa May's deal which was rejected three times by MPs.

"It is not a good deal for our country and future generations who will feel the impact. It should be voted down," he said.

"I totally understand the frustration and the fatigue across the country and in this House.

"But we simply cannot vote for a deal that is even worse than the one this House rejected three times."

The PM's Brexit deal has been branded "inferior" to that already rejected by MPs by Labour in the Lords.

Baroness Smith of Basildon, Labour's leader in the Upper House, said the deal was "unsatisfactory" and failed to unite a bitterly divided country.

Lady Smith warned everyone was losing patience and an extension would only work if the Prime Minister was willing to compromise or to seek a public mandate.

With the Commons vote on the deal poised on a knife edge, she said the Tories' "incompetent" handling of Brexit meant that if the deal was again rejected the "real choice" should be put to the public.

Lady Smith told a packed chamber: "If this is the best Brexit that a Brexit-believing Prime Minister considers can be delivered, then why not seek that public mandate for it.

"Anything less would be a dereliction of duty," she added, to Opposition cheers.

In the first Saturday sitting since 1982, Leader of the Lords Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, repeating the Prime Minister's statement to the Commons, urged all sides to come together to get Brexit done.

Lady Evans said there could no longer be any argument for delay and hailed the deal as the best possible solution to the current impasse.

But Lady Smith said: "The 'new' Brexit deal is inferior to that previously rejected by an historic margin."

She told peers: "The challenge to the Government was not just to leave the EU but to do so in a way that respected the votes of all its citizens and seek to unite our country rather than foster division. In that challenge the Government has failed spectacularly." 

Mr Johnson said that in any future trade negotiations with any country "our NHS will not be on the table".

He said: "I am convinced that an overwhelming majority in this House regardless of our personal views, wishes to see Brexit delivered in accordance with the referendum."

He added: "In this crucial mission there can no longer be any argument for further delay. As someone who passionately believed that we had to go back to our European friends to seek a better agreement, I must tell the House that with this new deal the scope for future negotiation, for fruitful negotiation has run its course."

He went on: "But it is now my judgment that we have reached the best possible solution."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his MPs would "not be duped" into supporting the Prime Minister's Brexit deal.
He told the Commons: "(Mr Johnson) has renegotiated the Withdrawal Agreement and made it even worse. He has renegotiated the Political Declaration and made that even worse."

He bemoaned the lack of an economic impact assessment and accompanying legal advice for the Brexit deal.

Mr Corbyn added Mr Johnson has made "empty promises" on workers' rights and the environment. He went on: "This Government cannot be trusted and these benches will not be duped."

Mr Corbyn said the Prime Minister's Brexit deal risks "thousands of British jobs".

He told MPs: "Thousands of British jobs depend on a strong manufacturing sector and a strong manufacturing sector needs markets through fluid supply-chains all across the European Union.

"A vote for this deal would be a vote to cut manufacturing all across this country. This deal would absolutely inevitably lead to a Trump trade deal, forcing the UK to diverge from the highest standards and expose our families once again to chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef."

The Labour leader said he would not hand the Government a "blank cheque" on worker's rights and environmental protections.

Mr Johnson continued: "Let's speak now both for the 52 and the 48, let's go for a deal that can heal this country and can allow us all to express our legitimate desires for the deepest possible friendship and partnership with our neighbours.

"A deal that allows us to create a shared destiny with us, and a deal that also allows us to express our confidence in our own democratic institutions, to make our own laws, to determine our own future, to believe in ourselves once again as an open, generous, global, outward-looking, free trading United Kingdom.
"That is the prospect that this deal offers our country, it is a great prospect and a great deal and I commend it to the House."

Trade Secretary Liz Truss tweeted: "Why doesn't Corbyn just admit he doesn't want to leave the EU? It's the sheer disingenuous that riles me."

Mr Corbyn said: "It's not a good deal for our country and future generations will feel the impact, it should be voted down today by this House.

"I also totally understand the frustration and the fatigue across the country and in this House, but we simply cannot vote for a deal that is even worse than the one the House rejected three times."

He added: "Supporting the Government this afternoon would merely fire the starting pistol in a race to the bottom in regulations and standards."

Mr Corbyn said: "Voting for a deal today won't end Brexit, it won't deliver certainty and the people should have the final say.

"Labour is not prepared to sell out the communities that we represent. We are not prepared to sell out their future and we will not back this sell-out deal.

"This is about our communities now and about our future generations."

Liberal Democrats MP Sam Gyimah tweeted: "The Government is saying Northern Ireland is getting a good deal because of preferential access to EU markets. So, why don't they want the same that for the rest of the UK."

Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn was "wrong" about his claims on environmental and social protection, saying: "This Government, this country will maintain the very highest standards and we will lead in environmental protection and social protection in Europe and across the world."

Mr Johnson also said: "He talks about trust - this is a right honourable gentleman... who patently does not trust his own party, he doesn't trust the shadow chancellor (John McDonnell).
"Above all he has not been willing to trust the people of this country by granting them the right to adjudicate on him and his policies in a general election.
"He won't trust the people and he doesn't trust the people by delivering on the result of their referendum in 2016.
"I suggest in all humility and candour to the House that they should ignore the pleadings of (Mr Corbyn) and vote for an excellent deal that will take this country and take the whole of Europe forward."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: "I'm in Parliament to vote down Boris Johnson's sell out deal.
"He's selling out our jobs, selling out our industries, selling out our environmental standards and selling out our hard won rights at work. And his deal will pave the way to sell off our NHS. Labour won't let him."

Father of the House and former Conservative MP Ken Clarke said: "So would he (Boris Johnson) reassure me, as I assure him I will vote for his deal once we have given legislative effect to it, that when he goes on to negotiate the eventual long term arrangements, he will seek a solution where we have the same completely open access across the Channel, across the Irish border, to trade and investment in both directions with the European Union that we have now, even if we have to sacrifice the political benefits we have hitherto enjoyed from membership of the Union."

Mr Johnson replied: "And I can give him, Mr Speaker, the absolute reassurance that in the course of the negotiations, in which I say we would want the entire House or as many as possible to be involved, to take part, we will ensure we have exactly what I think he desires - a zero tariff, zero quota, free trade partnership so that there is maximum and increasing trade between our economies."

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: "The Prime Minister has returned from Brussels to present a deal that he knows, that we all know is actually worse than Theresa May's deal, a deal that would see Scotland shafted by this United Kingdom Government, left at an economic disadvantage, with Scotland's views totally disregarded by this Prime Minister and his Government.

He added: "Not a single MP who cares about Scotland's future should consider supporting the Prime Minister today."
Responding to Mr Blackford, the Prime Minister said: "I must say that I think he's being a little bit ... churlish in his response because after all I didn't mention England and I didn't mention Wales.

"The reason of course that Northern Ireland is a particular subject of discussion, it is a legitimate point, is that there are particular circumstances in Northern Ireland at the border which deserve particular respect and sensitivity and that is what they have received."

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said he would back the Prime Minister's deal and urged him to ask independent MP Sir Oliver Letwin to withdraw his amendment.

Mr Duncan Smith added: "Would he please come to the despatch box and ask the member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver) to please now, recognising we need to have a meaningful vote, to withdraw his amendment and give the British people what they are dying for, is a decision on Brexit."

Responding, the Prime Minister said: "I do think that this is a momentous occasion for our country and for our Parliament and it would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote, which is I believe this House ... can vote to do, were to be taken away from us.

"I just say that with the greatest respect to my right honourable friend (Sir Oliver) who I think is actuated by the best possible intentions."

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: "The Prime Minister's deal removes protections on workers' rights, it puts a border down the Irish Sea and according to the Government's own analysis will damage our economy on a scale greater than the financial crash.

"Today hundreds of thousands of people will be outside demanding a final say in a People's Vote. Isn't the truth that the reason the Prime Minister refuses their calls is because he knows that if given the option the people will reject this bad deal and choose to remain in the EU."

Tory David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) said: "The Prime Minister has done what they said was impossible two weeks ago and got the EU to reopen and change their negotiating position.
"Does he agree with me that during the referendum this Parliament effectively made a promise to the British people to deliver on their decision and today is the day to deliver on that promise."
Mr Johnson replied: "I do believe this excellent deal dispels the doubts of many people about what this country could achieve and indeed will achieve in the future."

DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds told the Commons: "Weariness in this House over Brexit should not be an excuse for weakness on Brexit or weakness on the union."
Mr Dodds said there must be "Brexit for the whole of the United Kingdom", leaving the single market and customs union as one.
He said: "This deal puts Northern Ireland, yes, in the UK customs union but applies de facto all the European customs union code - yes it does, read the detail."

Mr Dodds raised concerns over Northern Ireland's involvement in the VAT regime and the single market "without any consent up front" before claiming: "It drives a coach and horses through the Belfast Agreement by altering the cross-community consent mechanism."

Mr Dodds then alluded to previous warnings from Mr Johnson about how no British PM could agree to such terms, adding: "Will he now abide by that and please reconsider the fact that we must leave as one nation together?"

Independent MP and former chancellor Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge) said: "Mr Speaker, before I decide whether to jump on the Prime Minister's bus, I'd like to be just a little clearer about the destination.

"I'd like to be reassured that it remains the deep hand special partnership with the European Union that we promised the people in our 2017 election manifesto.

"And in the absence of the UK wide backstop which has now gone from the package, the best way to give us that reassurance is to ensure a proper role for Parliament in the process in the future negotiations.

"So could the Prime Minister today make a commitment to accept what are known as the Nandy/Snell amendments which the previous government agreed would prevail."

Mr Johnson replied: "Mr Speaker I can certainly give that commitment."

Mr Johnson, replying to Mr Dodds, said together he and the DUP secured changes on the customs union before defending the measures in the deal for Northern Ireland.

He said: "In all frankness I do think it a pity that it is thought necessary for one side or the other in the debate in Northern Ireland to have a veto on those arrangements.

"Because after all, I must be very frank about this, the people of this country have taken a great decision embracing the entire four nations of this country by a simple majority vote that went 52-48, which we're honouring now.

"I think that principle should be applied elsewhere and I see no reason why it should not be applied in Northern Ireland, and it is in full compatibility with the Good Friday Agreement."

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Johnson has broken virtually every past promise he has made on Brexit. How anyone could believe promises he makes now on workers' rights or anything else is beyond me. 'Caveat emptor' should be the words ringing in ears of any Labour MP thinking of backing this deal."

Chair of the Exiting the European Union Committee and Labour MP Hilary Benn said: "This agreement will maintain friction-free access to this European market to Northern Ireland, can the Prime Minister therefore explain why he is so determined to deny that exact same benefit to the rest of the United Kingdom.

"Because I say to him that if he presses on with that path, he will not heal the rift to which he referred a moment ago, he will only serve to widen it further."

Mr Johnson replied: "Mr Speaker, the right honourable gentleman whom I have a high regard is, I think, one of those who believes we should delay further, I don't believe that, I think we should come out as one UK, and I think there's a very important difference between Northern Ireland and the other constituent parts of the UK, and that's evident in the Good Friday Agreement, it's evident in the need to treat that particular land border with a great deal of respect."

Labour MP Angela Eagle said the Prime Minister recently told the DUP conference he would not support a deal that "puts a border down the Irish Sea".

She added: "So can the Prime Minister tell this House why on earth anyone in the country, let alone anyone in this place, will believe a reassurance he ever gives ever again?"

Mr Johnson replied: "I'm afraid that the right honourable lady is simply wrong. There will be no border down the Irish Sea," adding: "There will be some customs checks, yes, but of course, what we are trying to do is ... but there will be no tariffs, there will be a single united customs union between all four nations of the UK."

Labour's Rachael Maskell asked how the deal complied with the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Johnson said: "The deal is in perfect conformity with the Good Friday Agreement and it is open to the people of the Northern Ireland to vary the arrangements that I decided described if they so choose."

It is understood from Government sources that if the Letwin amendment passes, Tory MPs will essentially abstain on the final vote and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be introduced next week.

Sources said if the Letwin amendment was passed it would make the so-called meaningful vote a 'meaningless vote'.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "What we are focused on is winning a vote on the deal.

"If Parliament approves the Prime Minister's deal today then we can get on with introducing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at the start of next week and leaving the EU on October 31."

Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts said: "How could Plaid Cymru ever support his billionaires' Brexit?"

Independent former Tory minister Caroline Nokes said: "Can he please reassure me therefore that today sees the end of the campaign to portray it as Parliament against the people and today we accept that it is Parliament working on behalf of people."

Independent former Tory cabinet minister Greg Clark said: "Will (he) give a commitment in law if necessary that workers' rights in this country will never be inferior to those of the EU?"
Mr Johnson replied: "Yes, I certainly can."

The SNP's Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) said: "Can he explain to me and my constituents in what way it strengthens the union of the UK for Scotland alone to have foisted upon it a Brexit it didn't vote for."

Independent former Tory cabinet minister Justine Greening said: "Dismissing concerns of communities like my own is no way to bring even England back together and dismissing concerns of other nations within the UK is also no way to bring the UK and Britain back together either."

Mr Johnson replied: "I certainly didn't mean to dismiss anybody's concerns let alone her own."

Asked if Parliament would have more weekend and late-night sittings, to get Brexit legislation through, a Government source said: "The public will expect whatever it takes from Parliament to get this done."