‘EU could have sued us!’ Gina Miller admits ‘terrifying’ reason for anti-Brexit challenge

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Gina Miller appeared on LBC to recall her Brexit challenge in 2016 which saw the High Court rule Theresa May had to legislate before the executive could make the decision to invoke Article 50. While Ms Miller was attacked at the time for slowing down the Brexit decision and process, she revealed her challenge did not include Brexit in any of the court documents and was solely down to making sure Parliament followed its own laws. Ms Miller is known for her anti-Brexit views but insisted without her intervention the European Union may have been able to take the UK to court. 

Speaking on LBC, host Rachel Johnson spoke with Ms Miller about her legal challenge against the Government in 2016. 

The then prime minister, Theresa May, was seeking to invoke Article 50 without putting it through parliament via prerogative powers which saw Ms Miller launch a challenge, which was upheld, to force the Government to present a withdrawal bill to MPs. 

In January 2017, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill was passed without amendment. 

Ms Miller explained: “What Mrs may at the time was going to do was to trigger something called Article 50 which meant that we’d leave the EU.

“But actually by law parliament had to do that, she couldn’t do that on her own.

“And because we don’t have a written constitution, if that’s precedent had been set that a prime minister could make a law that changes our rights then in future – and look what’s happening now – any prime minister could do that.

“So you know it was a very dangerous precedent to set and my other concern was that if she had done that and parliament was not involved the EU could actually have taken us to court in international law.

“They would have had a right to take us to court because we didn’t follow the international treaty.

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“I was terrified by that because I thought we’re going to be going into a negotiation which we must go and do legally but we could be treading water for years while they take us to the international court to saying we’ve broken the international treaty.

Ms Johnson remarked Ms Miller was actually doing the UK “a favour” as entering negotiations with a looming legal case between the UK and EU would have slowed down and negatively affected the process. 

Ms Johnson also recalled the vitriol that was thrown Ms Miller’s way during that time which saw death threats and abuse sent her way. 

Ms Miller said: “I looked around, there was nobody there supporting me everyone is just shouting at me.

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“Even with the one court case I remember coming out one day and there was somebody holding a gallows and saying I should be hung and the police just standing by and watching this happen.

“So I completely misunderstood how the reaction in the media would be because I think the media were and certain commentators made it about Brexit.

“We never actually used the word Brexit in our court case once, it was nowhere in our case.”

Ms Miller also launched an unsuccessful legal challenge to Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament in 2019 but the Supreme Court later found the prorogation was unlawful at it “stymied parliament”. 

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