Voters in Rushmoor have sent a striking visual message to the government over its handling of Britain’s departure from the European Union .
A billboard on display for two weeks in Cove Road, Farnborough , claimed voters in last June’s referendum were not in favour of the "hard Brexit" proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May , with complete EU withdrawal.
It was paid for by a crowd-funded national campaign group called Stop the Silence, which claims the wishes of the electorate have been dismissed by ministers.
The billboard showed people whose mouths were taped with the supposed drawbacks of a hard Brexit deal.
On Sunday (March 12), just before the billboard’s run ended, a small group of campaign supporters from across the borough and surrounding areas gathered at the billboard for photos with their mouths taped.
The images will be used by Stop the Silence, alongside similar photos taken at other campaign billboards around the country, as it lobbies politicians and the government to consider the benefits of a ‘soft Brexit’ that retains some aspects of an EU relationship.
Alain Dekker, a local spokesman for Stop the Silence, said the campaign was launched because members felt the result of the referendum - in which 51.9% of voters opted to leave the EU - was a “tenuous majority”.
“The campaign aims to influence the character and quality of the debate surrounding Brexit to ensure that all voices feel able to express their views, regardless of how or even whether they voted in the referendum,” Mr Dekker said.
“There are many who voted ‘remain’ in the referendum who feel they are being silenced and dismissed.
"There will also be many who voted ‘leave’ who do not wish for a hard Brexit or wish to retain some aspects of the relationship with the EU, such as the single market.
“They are being aggressively silenced. There is no other name for this but a tyranny of the majority, and a tenuous majority it is.
“Are we sure all of the 52% who voted to leave the EU support the government’s one extreme interpretation?”
Mr Dekker said the campaign was not designed to prevent Brexit but to “ensure we get the best deal possible for the UK”.
“It now looks likely that the entire country will be forced to go along with one very extreme version of the future,” he added.
“The view of moderates are being dismissed as if they never existed. We will not be silenced.”