For the last three months, as lead claimant versus the Prime Minister, I have been living and breathing the UK in EU legal challenge. I have learnt some new terminology and spent hours reading documents which might as well have been written in Swahili. Mostly, I been doing a lot of waiting, and then some more. The premise of our case against the Prime Minister is this – we are asking the High Court to find on two issues that could fundamentally alter the Brexit process:
- To declare the Referendum result invalid due to the Leave campaign’s proven disregard for spending rules.
- To subsequently find that the basis for Theresa May’s decision to trigger Article 50 is unreliable because of this wrongdoing. To argue that the referendum produced a small majority in favour of leaving is an irrational basis for such a momentous and far-reaching decision.
IN THE PHOTO: Bremain members at the People’s Vote March to demand a vote on the final Brexit Deal PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Wilson – Bremain.
The Government has responded to our challenge. Its arguments contend that our claim was out of time, having not been submitted within a set timescale following either the referendum itself, or the triggering of Article 50.
We argue that we are within time as the Electoral Commission’s findings that Vote Leave broke the law have only recently been published.
All legal arguments/documents from both sides are available on our website:
Our challenge hit a stumbling block when the High Court refused permission for a substantive hearing. However, the swift action of our legal team meant a “Notice of Renewal” was submitted within 7 days and an oral permission hearing was secured.
IN THE PHOTO: Members of Bremain in Manchester – Stop Brexit March on the Tory Party Conference 2017. PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Wilson – Bremain.
We are now waiting for this to take place on 7th December 2018. Unusually for this type of proceeding, the Government will also be attending and making representations via its top Barrister, First Treasury Counsel, Sir James Eadie QC. Sir James represented the Government in the Gina Miller Article 50 proceedings at the Supreme Court at the end of 2016.
We are looking forward to the opportunity to present our case in person, rather than on paper, and to ask the court for a full ‘substantive hearing’ as soon as possible.
The illegalities that form the basis of our case have been big news recently with more revelations surrounding Arron Banks & his campaign, Leave.EU. Banks has been referred to the National Crime Agency, and the Information Commissioner’s Office has recently imposed fines having made further findings that Banks and his campaign broke data protection laws.
Our solicitors wrote to Theresa May’s representatives on 6th November asking her to rethink her position in light of these new findings. Her refusal to take any action in relation to these recent discoveries is irrational considering the importance of the decision to leave the EU.
The scale and frequency of the allegations has meant that questions are starting to be asked by politicians. The public mood seems to have shifted too. Both Remainers and Leavers alike have been shocked by the scale and frequency of the allegations coming to light. Accepting the result of the referendum has been difficult for many, myself included, based as it was on so many lies and misrepresentations of a future wonderland outside of the European Union. However, it’s a different matter entirely when illegal activity has been proven, and the source of the funding for Leave.EU’s overspend is unknown.
IN THE PHOTO: Bremain members at the People’s Vote March to demand a vote on the final Brexit Deal. PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Wilson – Bremain.
We have heard far too often that Brexit is the ‘will of the people’. But we now know that the result of the 2016 Referendum was tainted by illegal overspending and breaches of data protection laws.
Had an MP done these things in the course of a general election, they would rightly lose their seat in the Commons and a by-election would be held to replace them. Yet the Prime Minister’s position is that the most constitutionally important decision in a generation can be similarly tainted by such illegality, and should be treated as Holy Writ. That is wholly irrational.
I don’t know where this journey will take me and wouldn’t want to make a prediction about our chances of success, but we’re still here, we’re still fighting and we’re still feeling positive. If we win, Brexit could be stopped in its tracks. If we lose, we will at least have helped to expose the sheer madness of basing such an important decision on such unsound foundations.
A further referendum is becoming increasingly likely by the day, and is garnering ever more support. The next one must be fought fairly, legally and under increased scrutiny – then we might truly be able to respect the referendum result.