EX­PATS’ BID TO HALT BREXIT

Bri­tish ex­pats liv­ing in the EU claim Leave cam­paign elec­tion of­fences ‘nul­lify’ the ref­er­en­dum and PM’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion to quit the EU

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dave Jones

A MA­JOR new le­gal chal­lenge has been launched against Brexit by Bri­tish ex­pats liv­ing in the Euro­pean Union.

The ac­tion in the High Court in the UK is be­ing fronted by Va­len­cia-based Sue Wil­son, chair of the Bre­main in Spain pres­sure group.

The claimants ar­gue that the il­le­gal con­duct of Leave or­gan­i­sa­tions dur­ing the 2016 ref­er­en­dum cam­paign should in­val­i­date Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s de­ci­sion to no­tify the EU of the UK’s in­ten­tion to with­draw.

“The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion found ‘be­yond a rea­son­able doubt’ that Vote Leave broke the law by ex­ceed­ing spend­ing li- mits dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign,” noted Mrs Wil­son.

“This mat­ter has now been re­ferred to the po­lice for a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Our case will ar­gue that the elec­toral of­fences nul­lify both the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum and, given that she re­lied upon that ‘demo­cratic de­ci­sion’, the Prime Min­is­ter’s no- tifi­ca­tion to leave the EU un­der Ar­ti­cle 50.”

The claimants hope the case will be heard on an ex­pe­dited ba­sis and re­ferred promptly to the Supreme Court.

Ac­cord­ing to The Guardian, the UK gov­ern­ment is re­sist­ing the ac­tion on the grounds that it is out of time.

It also claims and that a sim­i­lar chal­lenge has al­ready been dis­missed. A group named ‘UK in EU Chal­lenge’ has been formed to pur­sue the claim. They are rep­re­sented by Croft Solic­i­tors, Pa­trick Green QC and Jes­sica Si­mor QC, who all suc­cess­fully acted in the Gina Miller Ar­ti­cle 50 case. The le­gal team main­tains that the claim is not out of time be­cause the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion only re­cently found that BeLeave spent £675,000, which should have been de­clared. Mrs Wil­son added: “Leave won the ref­er­en­dum by the nar­row­est of mar­gins, based on fraud. “In the last two years, it has be­come in­creas­ingly ev­i­dent that the fan­tasy Brexit dream has turned into a night­mare. “De­spite the dam­age the gov­ern­ment knows that Brexit will bring to the coun­try, thanks to its own de­tailed as­sess­ments, it is plough­ing on re­gard­less as if noth­ing has changed. “How­ever, ev­ery­thing has changed. The Brexit the pub­lic was sold does not ex­ist, we will never se­cure a deal as good as the ex­ist­ing one, and pub­lic opin­ion has shifted. “If the Brex­iters firmly be­lieve the pub­lic knew what it was vot­ing for in 2016, and that the re­sult would be the same again, let’s put this idea to the test. “Give us a ref­er­en­dum on the fi­nal deal and we’ll see if it re­ally is the ‘will of the peo­ple’, go­ing for­wards.” Mrs Wil­son added that ‘what­ever the re­sult of this le­gal chal­lenge, we hope to demon­strate that you can’t win by cheat­ing’. “If an­other ref­er­en­dum oc­curs, we mustn’t see a re­peat of the il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity of 2016,” she noted. Other claimants in the case are Eli­nore Grayson from France, Ca­role-Anne Richards from Italy and John Shaw from France, who rep­re­sents Fair Deal Fo­rum and in­ter­vened suc­cess­fully in the ear­lier Gina Miller case. More in Vox Pop on p51.

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