By Declan Carey
A NEW party campaigning for Britain to rejoin the European Union (EU) is welcoming remain voters across the country who felt betrayed over Brexit.
Volt UK was registered with the electoral commission on 6 January and plans to win a future referendum on EU membership by challenging populism and rebuilding trust in politics.
The group is part of a pan-European movement (Volt Europa) with operations in 29 countries around the continent and claims 40,000 supporters.
Volt UK co-president Alex Haida told Redaction Politics: “People were offered change, they were given a stone to throw but they didn’t know they were throwing it at their own house.
“We will see the impact of Brexit, we just need to give it some time. We have ex-Lib Dem people, ex-Conservatives and ex-Labour, all of them coming to us because they lost their political home.
“People just lost trust in politics and we see that especially here with Brexit, that’s why all these campaigns repeatedly blamed someone except themselves.
“The Labour Party has the chance to come up with real changes but they don’t, they are too afraid to lose power. They don’t even have it, it’s just frustrating. That’s why I totally understand people leaving the Labour Party right now and coming to us.
“[Keir] Starmer’s a smart guy, he knows what he is doing, but it’s not everything to be intellectual about something, you shouldn’t forget you still have people who want you to change the country.
“We must look at the European Union again as something worth joining to give people more opportunities in terms of cultural exchange, opening up our own society, educational benefits and trade.”
Bell Ribeiro-Addy was the only Labour MP to vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal in December.
The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats opposed the deal which passed with 521 votes to 73, ending hope of an extension to the transition period.
Europeans living in Britain have faced hostility from the Conservative government since the EU referendum in 2016 according to co-founder of the3million group Maike Bohn.
She told Redaction Politics: “The feeling of all of a sudden having to prove that we belong here has been quite hurtful for many of us.
“Of course we know that Brexit means changes and Brexit means the UK has to take stock of who is in the country from the EU.
“But what has accompanied all this is a very hostile rhetoric right from the top
“From Theresa May’s citizens of nowhere to Amber Rudd saying our companies need to have lists of foreigners to Boris Johnson saying last Christmas that EU citizens have made themselves far too comfortable in the UK for far too long.
“Those are the things that really hit home and hurt people.”
However, Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, defended the government’s record.
He said: “These are baseless claims and risk deterring people who still need to apply for their status. There is still time to apply and a wide range of support is available and we are funding 72 organisations across the UK to help the more vulnerable in society.”
The Labour Party was also contacted for comment.
This article was updated on January 8, 2021 to include Kevin Foster’s statement.
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