The Prime Minister met with cabinet officials at the Buckinghamshire manor house this week to decide on the government’s vision for the country after Brexit.
The students bore a banner emblazoned with the words: “Your Brexit deal screws our future. Explain yourselves.”
Prior to the demonstration, OFOC members had sent invitations to cabinet ministers to meet the group. None of them were accepted.
Co-founder of OFOC and St Peter’s College student, Will Dry, told Cherwell: “A recent poll showed 80% of those aged 18-24 want to Remain. It’s a figure this government has no time for – evidenced by every cabinet minister’s refusal to meet or debate with our group. Hence we felt we had to track them down to Chequers and deliver our message there.”
Speaking to Cherwell, first-year History student, Dominic Brind said: “From the 4 am wakeup to the day spent under the hot Buckinghamshire sunshine, Our Future, Our Choice’s demonstration at Chequers shows the lengths that we went to to have our voices heard.
“After every single member of the cabinet rejected or ignored our request for a meeting to discuss the impact that Brexit will have on young people, we decided to take our message to them. Stitching up a calamitous Brexit stance in the Jacobean stately home, they refused to answer our cry for them to ‘explain themselves’ to us and an entire generation.
“This is why young people especially, many of whom did not have a chance to vote in 2016, need a people’s vote on May’s Brexit deal. Given the overwhelming anti-Brexit stance of our generation and Oxford students, the government’s blithe refusal to engage was telling.”
Principal of Hertford College and co-author of Saving Britain: How We Must Change to Prosper in Europe, Will Hutton, told Cherwell: “I think the view of young people in the month’s ahead is going to be critical: it is their future in jeopardy.
“Innovative and peaceful demonstrations in western democracies have a long and honourable history of effecting change. OFOC seems to me firmly within that tradition.”
Oxford students also took part in the demonstration at Labour Live in June alongside For Our Future’s Sake, another anti-Brexit youth campaign group whose spokespeople include Amatey Doku, the NUS Vice-President for Higher Education.
Both groups form part of the People’s Vote campaign, which is calling for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.
Richard Brooks, chief communications officer for FFS, told Cherwell: “Stunts alone won’t change Brexit or make a People’s Vote happen, but are a useful way of showing how strongly young people and students feel about Brexit.”
More public engagement has been promised by all anti-Brexit groups before October, when the government hopes to finalise the final EU withdrawal treaty for the UK.