Thousands Sign Petition To Cancel £120 Million 'Festival Of Brexit'
Thousands of people have signed a petition to cancel the 'Festival of Brexit', a national event set to cost an estimated £120 million, with campaigners arguing the money should go towards helping society recover from the pandemic.
The 2022 event was first announced back in 2018, when Theresa May's government suggested it as a means of celebrating 'our nation's diversity and talent' after the EU referendum.
Fast forward to 2021, however, and Britain has found itself in the clutch of global pandemic - which has prompted many people to suggest the public funds could be better spent.
MP Jamie Stone, who is the Liberal Democrats' spokesperson for digital, culture, media and sport, set up a petition titled 'Cancel the Brexit Festival!', referring to the event on Twitter as 'wasteful'.
So far, the petition has more than 7,900 signatures, having had an original target of just 1,000.
"Do you think it's wrong that the Tories are charging ahead with their 'Brexit festival', costing £120m when we're being destroyed by a pandemic?" the petition asks.
"Do you think that money should instead go to carers, freelance artists or anyone who needs financial support?
"If you do, sign my petition and let's make it happen."
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In response to the campaign, a government spokesperson said the event - which has been renamed Festival UK 2022 - would be 'about championing all that is great about the UK' and not 'advancing a political agenda'.
They said: "With 30 teams now working on projects for the Festival, it is already helping to create jobs and commissions for those working in industries impacted by coronavirus, and will open up many more opportunities over the next two years.
"We've made a record investment in the arts with the £1.5 billion Culture Recovery Fund and stand ready to help with the recovery, so it's not either the Festival or support, it's both."
Over 500 people have now said they want Boris to cancel the wasteful Brexit Festival.
Can we get up to 1,000? Sign here :point_down: https://t.co/w89NaBlUhy
- Jamie Stone MP (@Jamie4North) January 23, 2021
But Stone is calling on people to support the campaign 'regardless of how they regardless of how they voted in the referendum'.
He said: "Britain's culture calamity is real thanks to Brexit, yet the taxpayer is being asked to cough up £120 million for bread and circuses.
"Frankly, I thought this Brexit festival was sick before a pandemic - but given we've got kids starving, carers suffering on a minimum wage, and millions of people out of work and locked out of financial support, well, it's testament to how skewed the Tory moral compass really is."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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