We’re taking David Davis to court over Brexit
What’s this all about?
We’re taking David Davis to court because the Government is trying to remove a law that embeds the right to a meaningful vote and brings about the possibility of a public vote on the terms of the Brexit deal. According to the 2011 European Union Act, if we transfer control - like in the Government’s proposed transition deal - then the decision should be in the hands of the people. This case is about ensuring our Government follows our laws.
But to bring this critical legal challenge, we need your help. Please support our effort by contributing and spreading the word now.
Back in 2011, Parliament passed legislation to ensure that any significant changes to our relationship with the EU would be put to a public vote. No Government would be able to amend or replace EU treaties without an Act of Parliament, and no law which would increase Brussels’ power over the UK could be passed without a referendum. However, despite this, our government’s plan is to push the UK into an ‘implementation period’, during which more powers will be transferred to Brussels, without the public having a say. And on the meaningful vote, despite an amendment passing on this in December, the Government has consistently tried to interpret this as a Hobson’s choice vote between whatever terms they put to Parliament and a cliff edge. That’s not on: a meaningful vote means all options on the table, including staying and leading in the EU.
We (Best for Britain, Our Future, Our Choice!, and Tech for UK) are launching this legal challenge because we believe, like many MPs do, that the Withdrawal Agreement will not only amend the EU treaties, but will lead to a significant transfer in powers from the UK to the EU. In the words of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the UK would become a ‘vassal state’ - subject to the EU’s laws during any transition period without a seat at the table. It is a legal requirement that this must not be done without the consent of the British public.
We cannot rely on David Davis to uphold the law himself - just think back to the Brexit Reports. But we also cannot allow this pick-and-choose approach. So, we are taking him to court. On Thursday 8th March, we sent Davis a pre-action letter and asked him to reply within three weeks. If he continues to choose to deny the public its voice, we will be issuing a claim for judicial review in the High Court.
This case is about ensuring our Government follows its own laws. As Eloise Todd puts it,
“This is not about leave or remain, it’s about the fact that lots of people are worried about Brexit. It’s taking longer than we thought. It’s more complicated than we thought. The Good Friday Agreement is under threat. We’re two years on from the vote. The government had a mandate to go and negotiate a deal. Parliament must do its duty and vote for what’s best for the country based on whatever the Government gets, and the people have a right to decide whether it’s good enough for them. We need to keep the meaningful vote, get that public vote, and the 2011 Act suggests we have a right to it.”
“This case is simply about having the right for people to make sure their voice is heard on the biggest change in our country’s direction since the Second World War.”
We are supported by Dominic Grieve QC, who argues “this court challenge raises an important constitutional issue. While alternative views on the meaning of the 2011 Act may be advanced it is entirely legitimate that this matter should be examined in court. Parliament provided for a referendum mechanism in the 2011 Act to ensure the public should be consulted on any significant EU treaty change. The terms of our departure and of transition are going to have major implications on our constitutional framework as and when they come into force.”
Why we need your help
The Government is likely to fight us all the way. If this litigation proceeds to court, it will be very expensive: our team will have to respond carefully to all the contrary arguments that may be put by the Government’s legal teams. We will need £70,000 to fund the next stage of the lawsuit. Legal fees should be additional to campaign resources. Any money not spent on legal fees, however, will go straight back into campaigning groups to fight Brexit on the ground.
We can’t do this alone. We need financial support to ensure the public’s voice is heard. Best for Britain will matchfund all donations for the first £10,000 to help make sure we can get this campaign going.
We haven’t heard back yet from the government. In the meantime we’ve also asked them to respond to another point: would it be lawful to leave the EU and be subject to the laws of a Parliament we haven’t elected? Read our letter for more!
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