JUST ten weeks ago, on an overcast October afternoon, a deafening cheer went up among hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets of London.

Inside the House of Commons, MPs had voted for another delay to Brexit.

It was the news that marchers for a People’s Vote had been waiting to hear, with Britain’s departure from the EU no longer a certainty.

Polls suggested there was a clear majority for a final say on Brexit, and even many Leavers accepted that going to the public was the only way to break the deadlock.

But as we prepare to ring in the bells and enter a tumultuous 2020, Brexit is now a given.

In just over 30 days’ time, the UK’s 46-year-old status as a member of the European Union will come to an end.

Even in today’s fast-moving politics, the demise of the umbrella People’s Vote campaign has been astonishingly swift. And the specific organisation which gave the movement its name has torn itself apart amid internal disagreements.

But blame for this disappointing end to a concept which galvanised millions across the UK does not lie with those who fought the campaign.

READ MORE: EU chief warns further Brexit delay might be necessary 

It lies with those in frontline politics who failed to lead.

So much has changed since Britain narrowly voted Leave in 2016 that it’s easy to forget the rash decisions made by political leaders in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.

None more so than the response from Jeremy Corbyn, who called for the immediate triggering of the Article 50 process.

His failure to enthusiastically campaign for Remain during the contest had arguably contributed to the result in the first place, and now he was trying to compound the crisis.

Meanwhile, David Cameron ran away, and Nicola Sturgeon sought to capitalise on the chaos by demanding a second independence referendum.

In the months that followed, party leaders – save perhaps for the LibDems’ Tim Farron – were not particularly interested in how to avoid the worst-case Brexit for the entire UK.

As so often in recent years, it fell to backbench MPs to put the country first.

And that’s what Labour’s Alison McGovern and Heidi Alexander did, establishing a campaign for the UK to remain in both the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Other than remaining in the EU, all the evidence said this was the best economic option for the UK. Crucially, it was also a unifying way forward given the closeness of the referendum result.

As we enter the final month of Britain’s EU membership, and prepare to leave on Boris Johnson’s terms, it is galling for many to look back at this missed opportunity.

If there was one option that perhaps could have produced a Parliamentary majority at some point, it was most likely this.

But, as so often during his tenure as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn stood in the way of a pragmatic solution, with his MPs whipped to vote against Single Market membership.

Similar opposition later came from the Scottish Labour leadership as well when an attempt was made to lead the way north of the Border.

Labour’s manifesto fudge in 2017, impossibly pledging to deliver the ‘exact same benefits’ from Europe while leaving the Single Market, helped Theresa May win the General Election despite running the worst campaign in modern political history.

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The Single Market option was gone, and compromise was out of the window, so the People’s Vote campaign was launched in April 2018.

With the Commons unable to find a solution, this was now the logical way to resolve Brexit.

Campaign insiders always downplayed their chances of success, but a People’s Vote became more and more likely as time passed.

On that October afternoon earlier this year, with up to a million people outside Parliament, it felt like a distinct possibility.

But Jeremy Corbyn remained obstructive until the end, while the SNP – with some notable exceptions – was largely a reluctant partner in the campaign, and the LibDems decided to go down a different route of revoking Article 50 without a referendum.

So Mr Johnson got the snap General Election he wanted, with warnings of the ‘elephant trap’ simply ignored.

For the Prime Minister, it was a game of winner takes all, and he is now the undisputed champion.

Mr Corbyn may have lost his job, but so too has the country lost the option of a final say on the biggest constitutional decision in a generation.

We will now never know for sure if this is what the people really want.

In these unscripted times, it would be unwise to predict the political future.

But I’ll wager that yesterday’s claim in a pro-Brexit newspaper that the EU will ‘be the loser’ if a trade deal is not secured – not the UK – will not age well.

Anyone who wearily voted to ‘get Brexit done’ in the hope of returning to political normality is surely destined for a shock in 2020.

We can look forward to a year of wild threats and incredulous claims.

Mr Johnson has already threatened to withhold some of the near £40billion divorce bill if there is a no-deal Brexit, claiming it would be ‘no longer strictly speaking owed’.

By the time the one-year anniversary of the October People’s Vote rally comes around, there is every possibility the country will be staring a no-deal Brexit and a recession in the face.

But for defeated and dejected pro-EU campaigners, there are still important battles to be fought.

In time, some will no doubt make the politically difficult argument for the UK to rejoin the EU.

Before then, the focus will turn to securing environmental standards, EU citizens’ rights, and safeguarding child refugees.

And holding Boris Johnson to account.

By all rights, the Prime Minister should personally own the inevitable Brexit mess.

But when Parliament was in deadlock, he successfully deployed a grievance tactic in much the same way as the SNP does in the ongoing independence debate.

When he can’t secure the trade deals he has promised, he will take an identical approach and blame the EU.

It is going to be a long, difficult year ahead for those who have devoted time to preventing a hard Brexit.

The course we are now on was not inevitable, but campaigners never received the support they deserved from those who should have been on their side.

When the reality of Brexit hits and Mr Johnson starts to point the finger of blame, it must be remembered that those responsible are not in Brussels.

They can be found here in Britain.