If you’ve seen a British politician interviewed outside the U.K. Parliament in the last two years, chances are you will have seen Stephen Bray in the background, waving two anti-Brexit placards above his head and urging the government, with the help of a loudspeaker, to reconsider Britain’s decision to leave the E.U.
Bray, a rare coin trader from Port Talbot in South Wales, spends his weekdays standing outside Parliament, imploring politicians to kindly “put Brexit in the bin.” On Wednesday, as Prime Minister Theresa May presented her ill-fated Brexit deal to her cabinet, he became a viral sensation for a video in which he cannily moved from camera to camera during a live interview.
“I’m here every day [Parliament] is sitting,” he tells TIME outside the Parliament buildings on Thursday, wearing an EU-themed top hat and draped in a flag that’s half union Jack, half flag of Europe. “I do Monday to Thursday, half ten till six.” A couple of hours earlier, he shouted through a loudspeaker as arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg addressed media outside the Palace of Westminster.
Bray’s wishes of a Brexit reversal may be one step closer to being met. On Thursday, May’s premiership, and with it the chances of Britain leaving the European Union, hung in the balance. Her party is split between those who want the hardest possible Brexit and those who say they prioritize jobs and the economy over ideology. The opposition Labour Party has implied it could back a second vote. The chances of Brexit being reversed have arguably never been greater.
“What I’d like is for us to remain in the EU with a seat at the table,” he said. “No one ever said the EU was perfect, but while we have a seat at the table, we have a voice and we can mold it, we can change things that aren’t right. No system is perfect, it’s always evolving.”
Bray moved to London a few months after the referendum in June 2016. He currently lives in an apartment near Westminster, along with other anti-Brexit supporters he met on Facebook. “Have we gone mad? Have we gone mad?” a friend of his squawks, parrot-like, at the politicians being interviewed meters away.
The 49-year-old says lawmakers regularly stop to speak to him outside parliament. “I’ve spoken to many, many politicians,” he says. “Jacob Rees-Mogg is always very polite. He says he respects what I do, that it’s democracy and that I have the right to do it. And I just tell him, we will stop Brexit!”
Bray says he will only end his vigil once Brexit is totally off the cards. He backs a so-called ‘people’s vote’ and hopes that politicians put the country before their own vested interests.
“I’m very patriotic,” he says. “Yet I’m being called a traitor by people who voted Leave. I’m no traitor. I want what’s best for our nation.”
More Must-Read Stories From TIME
- How an Online Pharmacy Sold Millions Worth Of Dubious COVID-19 Drugs — While Patients Paid the Price
- Why Literally Millions of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs
- Meet the Women Participating in the Study That Could Change Future of Breast Cancer
- Inside the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Tomorrow's Business Leaders
- An Innovative Washington Law Aims to Get Foreign-Trained Doctors Back in Hospitals
- Why the Ex-Husband of a Missing Chinese Billionaire Is Risking All to Tell Their Story
- Timothée Chalamet Wants You to Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve