Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage to lead nationwide Brexit march through Sunderland and Hartlepool
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is to lead a nationwide Brexit march to London through both Sunderland and Hartlepool.
The Leave Means Leave protest - which begins on Wearside on Saturday, March 16 - will end in the capital on Friday, March 29, to mark the planned day the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Day one will finish in Hartlepool with the exact starting point, ending point and route still to be confirmed.
It is expected, however, that the journey will largely hug the East Durham coastline and potentially pass through Seaham, Peterlee and Horden.
Both Sunderland and Hartlepool residents heavily backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum and the two-week march is against any potential delay or fresh vote.
MEP Mr Farage, Leave Means Leave founder Richard Tice and chairman John Longworth will lead the protesters.
Mr Farage, who now represents the Brexit Party, said on Thursday: “The Westminster elite are in the process of betraying the British people over Brexit.
"All of us who want Britain to be a great country once again accept that we must be prepared to stand up for what we believe in and fight for our independence.
The aim is to have a core group of marchers on each leg of the route which will start in Sunderland and finish in a mass rally at Parliament Square on March 29 - the planned Brexit day."
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Organisers say the "peaceful protest" is "planned to show the level of popular dissatisfaction, especially outside of London, with the way the Westminster elite are betraying the will of the people over Brexit".
Leave Means Leave founder and vice-chairman Mr Tice said: “Over 17 million people voted Leave in the EU referendum, many for the first time, in the greatest democratic exercise in the history of our nation.
"Failing to deliver a true Brexit will permanently damage the British people’s faith in democracy."
Mr Longworth added: “The Westminster elite has had over two years to implement Brexit and instead has done everything in its power to prevent it.
"Despite 52% of voters choosing Brexit, only 24% of current UK MPs voted to leave.
"An extension of Article 50, thereby kicking the can further down the road, is completely unacceptable.”
The march will start in Sunderland, the first city to return a leave vote, before travelling to Hartlepool and towns such as Pontefract, Doncaster and Wellingborough.
It will culminate in a rally in Parliament Square, Westminster, on March 29.