The People's Challenge: Championing the Millions in the Margins

by The People's Challenge

The People's Challenge: Championing the Millions in the Margins

by The People's Challenge
The People's Challenge
Case Owner
The People's Challenge is concerned about the effects of "Brexit" on the rights of ordinary people. We challenge the assumption that people's rights can be stripped away for political convenience.
Funded
on 12th April 2018
£20,225
pledged of £35,000 stretch target from 562 pledges
The People's Challenge
Case Owner
The People's Challenge is concerned about the effects of "Brexit" on the rights of ordinary people. We challenge the assumption that people's rights can be stripped away for political convenience.

Latest: Jan. 2, 2019

The past two years very much resemble the curate's egg

The past two years very much resemble the curate’s egg.

On the one hand there has been blind adherence to a non-existent plan, which has resulted in a deal between Theresa May and the EU that ...

Read more

With much fanfare, the latest version of the draft withdrawal treaty was announced at the beginning of this week.

There is not yet agreement on all parts of it, and “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, but it does seem to set out how the UK and the EU are going to go about dealing with EU citizenship rights.

In this the treaty is both a disappointment and a deception.

Why a disappointment? The starting point for the negotiations was to agree “reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens”, and it does nothing of the sort. Even for those groups of people who are covered by the draft treaty, the protections are limited and inadequate.

Why a deception? Because both the EU and the UK talk as if British nationals and EU27 nationals who have acted on those fundamental citizenship rights are being properly protected.

The EU and the UK have agreed that acting in “Good Faith” is important enough to warrant a clause in the draft agreement. But the deception extends to the “Good Faith” principle apparently not applying when dealing with all European Union citizens.

Not a single group of British nationals is being fully protected and there are, broadly speaking, only a few groups of British nationals who are only partially and very inadequately protected.

With this in mind, we have agreed with John Halford at Bindmans the next tranche of work for us to pursue. In short, the Draft Withdrawal Treaty needs urgent, intense scrutiny from legal experts who can identify its flaws and so arm the public and their elected representatives – in both the UK and EU Parliaments – to take action to prevent the stripping away of rights. With your support, we will  commission that expert opinion and accessible guides for the public on how to deploy it effectively.

John has written a comprehensive introduction to that work. It is of necessity a “long read” and you can find it here. We have summarised it below.

It is a substantial piece of work, so we are launching a new Crowd Justice campaign, as we did for the challenge to the government  on its proposal to use the Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50 and for commissioning the “Three Knight’s Opinion”.

There will be continuity with that work as Gerry Facenna QC, who was part of the team involved in the challenge to the government and one of the 5 legal minds who produced the “Three Knight’s Opinion”, will be leading the work by the barristers on this latest work.

John, Gerry and colleagues at Monckton Chambers will be reviewing the draft withdrawal treaty and the extent to which the provisions in it are incomplete or in many cases completely absent for the various groupings of British nationals. They will identify where human rights may be breached because of these omissions.

They will also be looking at areas where the treatment of the different groups may be unlawfully discriminatory, such as the plans for marked differences in treatment between UK nationals and other EU nationals once the transition period ends.

The objective is to identify what those who are being marginalised, which just about includes all British nationals to a greater or lesser extent, can do to rectify the situation, whether politically or by recourse to the courts.

This work is important, not just to show how incomplete the draft withdrawal treaty is, but also how empty the words are.

Once again it will help cast light on the impact of Brexit on the rights of ALL EU citizens and what the loss of those rights will entail. Something that has been a guiding principle of what The People’s Challenge has done.

John makes a telling point in his introduction:

the negotiators’ aim was not to preserve EU citizenship in a first or even a second class form; it was to protect those who have exercised core free movement rights or are about to. This, aim, coupled with the principle of ‘bright line rules’ so beloved of officials, has a number of striking effects. For those who have no interest in or wish to enjoy, the benefits of EU citizenship they will not matter. But a great many people will be marginalised and disenfranchised.

Even those British nationals who will have some degree of protection should not be complacent, John points out that what the draft agreement proposes for them “is not as secure as it first appears; they can all too easily find themselves forced into the margins of those documents, where they will join the millions that are to have no rights at all ”.

The fragility of their status is increased because they will have to be able to evidence that they continue to exercise the limited rights they are being “granted”, as the automatic rights they have now will be removed.

Apart from the limited protections accorded to those who meet the residency qualifications in the draft agreement, there are huge groups of people who are simply ignored or form part of an apologetic footnote.

Taking just a couple of points from John’s introduction:

those who have established businesses in other states (itself a core economic right) but are resident elsewhere have no obvious protection in future”, neither do “those wishing to exercise other economic rights, in particular secondary establishment and cross-border provision of services by those who are not frontier workers. The way these groups are dealt with in the note belittles their significance”.

The work that John, Gerry and the team are going to do will go beyond analysing the treaty and highlighting its deficiencies: they will also be looking at what the possible remedies might be.

For example, if the EU Parliament believes the Draft Agreement itself breaches EU fundamental rights, it has a duty to withhold approval - and if it is in doubt, it can refer the Agreement to the European Court of Justice for a conclusive legal view, even before the Agreement becomes a formal treaty.

As John said at the end of his introduction to the work we are commissioning, the UK and the EU “have almost pulled off the most ambitious branding exercise ever undertaken in Europe: presenting arrangements that will ultimately strip millions of their existing fundamental rights as generous rights-granting measures for the minority that will benefit in future.

Of course that minority comprises millions of people too, but that will be little consolation to those who fall just outside the protected groups because their “past life choices” are not quite the right ones or because they planned to exercise their EU citizenship rights, but have yet to do so.

Parliamentarians, whether MPs, MEPs or members of the UK’s devolved assemblies, have a responsibility to represent ALL the people affected, not just a few of them. It is a responsibility they should embrace, and once properly informed, they should act on it.

The People's Challenge will matchfund the first £5,000 to ensure that work can start swiftly.

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Update 29

The People's Challenge

Jan. 2, 2019

The past two years very much resemble the curate's egg

The past two years very much resemble the curate’s egg.

On the one hand there has been blind adherence to a non-existent plan, which has resulted in a deal between Theresa May and the EU that virtually nobody in the UK wants, and it seems that nobody in the EU really wants it either.

On the other hand, there have been two momentous legal decisions.

The first was when the government was defeated in the Supreme Court over its intention to use the Royal Prerogative to Trigger Article 50, and the second when the Court of Justice of the EU agreed that the UK can unilaterally withdraw the Article 50 notification.

Both of these decisions are connected by a long legal thread, starting with our successful Article 50 challenge, running through The Three Knights Opinion which in turn underpinned the successful question to the CJEU by Andy Wightman and his colleagues. It is a legal thread that has been funded in large part by your contributions and support for our fundraising campaigns.

Neither of these challenges has stopped Brexit, but nobody said they would. Indeed, no legal challenge can of itself stop Brexit. But they have been the only ones to pull the government up short and restrain its autocratic deceit.

In doing so, they provided our parliamentarians with tools to help them force through a meaningful vote on the results of Theresa May’s shambolic and damaging negotiations, and gave hope that the outcome will be something that doesn’t damage our and our country’s future for decades to come.

You have also helped us fund another significant piece of legal work, The Millions in the Margins. This document highlights the ways in which the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU is not only discriminatory but seriously deficient in protections provided to UK citizens at home and overseas.

 Although Theresa May’s deal is being touted as the end of the process, this is not so. The only way that Brexit will finish on 29th March 2019 is if the UK continues as a member of the EU.

Theresa May’s deal does nothing more than kick the can down the road yet again, with the distinct possibility of a no-deal exit from the EU on 31st December 2020.

Even a no-deal exit will not finish the Brexit process. Does anybody seriously believe the UK can walk away from the EU and not have treaties and agreements with our closest neighbours covering trade, security, defence co-operation…? Even the most myopic of the unicorn hunters don’t think that.

Fortunately, Parliament as a whole seems disinclined to believe in the myths of unicorns and rainbows spouted by Theresa May, added and abetted by Jeremy Corbyn and the brexiters.

There is still much work to be done, persuading and informing MPs on what we think and preparing for a possible People’s Vote by encouraging people to ensure they are registered to vote. There may even be new legal challenges, depending on the course things take over the coming weeks.

We send out supporters’ e-mails via Crowd Justice when we can, but as we are not currently running a Crowd Justice campaign that doesn’t always happen as quickly or punctually as events dictate.

You can also follow us via our Blog, Facebook page, or Twitter @PeoplesChalleng .

Many thanks, once again, for your support, we hope you had a good Christmas/New Year and let’s see what we can do to make 2019 A Very Good Year.

Update 28

The People's Challenge

Dec. 31, 2018

Brexit, It's no good harking back, what is best for our country NOW?

It’s no good harking back…

Were we told that our country would be better off outside the EU, that we could establish a new world position at the drop of a hat, that we could write our own ticket to exit the EU? Yes to all.

Was this all moonshine, is it all in the past, do we need to move on? Yes to all.

We need to channel our inner Dr Phil and say something like, “It is what it is, and the only time is now.”

There may have been lies, misdemeanours and (maybe) misunderstandings, but the important thing is what to do NOW.

Here are some suggestions:

Now we (kind of) know what leaving the EU means, even if it’s so complicated that no one (truly no one) understands all the ins and outs, we should consider the consequences for us, our workmates, families, friends and neighbours, and the economy, prospects and future of our country;

We should inform and support our MPs – that means tell them our views, and that we rely on them to do what is best for our country;

Political circumstances have put our Parliament in an almost impossible situation, so we should press for another referendum – if the last one was democratic, why wouldn’t another one be equally so? TM’s snap election last year apparently wasn’t undemocratic, so what’s the difference?

We should do all we can to make sure that everyone eligible to vote is properly registered to do so where they now live. This may be particularly important for younger people who are more likely to have relocated in the last couple of years. Perhaps you could contact your local schools, colleges, universities, employment agencies to alert people to the necessity for registration?

But just as importantly, we really shouldn’t hark back. Who did what, for what reason, in 2016 in relation to the referendum is HISTORY. Anybody reading this now has over 2 years more experience and information to draw on. As the old saying goes, it’s not where we came from, but where we’re going, that counts.

This issue has been so very deeply divisive. Building bridges is important, or at least not making the canyons any wider. What’s imperative is that we work together to get the best outcome for our country.

You can find this article and others on our blog: https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2018/12/31/brexit-its-no-good-harking-back-what-is-best-for-our-country-now/

Update 27

The People's Challenge

Dec. 30, 2018

When you have nothing to say for yourself, spread stories about your opponents

Theresa May’s government is actually verbally bankrupt, as well as morally bankrupt and much shorter of the readies than it needed to be.

We’re getting the usual stuff about what they’re “very clear about” (yawn), but there’s nothing new, nothing real.

So what are they doing? They’re trying to talk about their opponents in a derogatory fashion, so as to draw attention away from their own disarray.

Jeremy Corbyn said in Parliament that Theresa May was a “silly woman”, did he? According to lip-reading experts, he didn’t (though it would have been hard to disagree with him). Apparently, what he said was that the Conservatives opposite were “silly people”. Nobody disputes the “silly” bit, it would appear. The accusations about reducing proceedings to pantomime are equally hard to refute.

But trying to get us to think that Jeremy Corbyn insulted Theresa May personally is good distraction … look, bright and shiny!

Amber Rudd also pitched in about how she doesn’t like European-style hugs. I understand that Ms Rudd is (according to the credits in “Four Weddings…”) an authority on proper behaviour in UK posh circles, but she clearly doesn’t understand social behaviour in Europe.

Nor, it would appear, has she taken advice. Hell, even I could have told her, and I’m no expert. Here’s what you do to avoid hugs: you hold out your right hand and proffer your cheek, then the other one - for the avoidance of doubt, those on your face. This will signal “no hugging”. You can still appear pleased to meet someone if you do the cheek-kissing properly.

But there’s no news in taking advice and being prepared, is there? Well, the Brexit proceedings had already told us that!

Lyn Pigney

Update 26

The People's Challenge

Dec. 23, 2018

In The Deep Mid-Winter Jeremy Corbyn joins Theresa May hunting Unicorns and Rain

As we traverse the winter solstice and head toward the Christmas/New Year break, we can spot Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May out together, hunting for rainbows and unicorns.

It has long been know that Theresa May is an enthusiastic participant in this mythical sport, but views on Jeremy Corbyn’s participation have until now been largely speculation, based on observations of him indulging in fence-sitting rather than fence-jumping.

They are both after a super-unicorn – an 11th hour capture somewhere in the vicinity of Brussels.

Of course, the more rational among us do actually know that unicorns exist only in myth, and have certainly not been seen around Brussels, or indeed anywhere else in the known world, since time immemorial.

While Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn indulge their Walter Mitty fantasies, others that they represent are faced with the reality of much more meagre fare, this Christmas and for a long time to come.

This holiday season there is both more and less optimism than there was this time last year.

Reasonable people know quite clearly what is Best for Our Country despite the undemocratic and dogmatic statements that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn spout in a manner reminiscent of 1930s dictators.

We hope and believe that wiser council will prevail and the UK will not be dragged down a path that compromises its heritage, principles and democracy.

Time for us all to draw breath, close the doors on the world for a few days and enjoy the festive season, very best wishes from all of us.

You can find this article and others on our blog: https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2018/12/23/in-the-deep-mid-winter-jeremy-corbyn-joins-theresa-may-hunting-unicorns-and-rainbows/

Update 25

The People's Challenge

Dec. 18, 2018

A vote of no confidence in the Government is not as simple as it sounds.

There has been a lot of talk about Labour forcing a Commons vote of no-confidence.


The no-confidence motion that Jeremey Corbyn has tabled is largely symbolic. The government doesn’t have to provide time for it to be debated and the motion won’t, of itself, trigger a General Election or force Theresa May to resign.


If it is debated and passes, Theresa May’s authority will be reduced, but as her authority already seems to be around zero, will that make any difference?


Tabling a vote of no-confidence in the government is another thing.


However, what that has meant since 2011, when the Fixed Term Parliament Act received Royal Assent, is very different to what it meant in the past.


The Fixed Term Parliament Act was introduced to provide a more stable parliamentary environment for a coalition government. As a consequence it also protects a minority government. It also removed the prerogative that the Monarch had, on advice from the Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament and call a General Election.


The no-confidence procedure was significantly modified by the introduction of the FTP Act:


A vote of no-confidence in the government, using the form of words prescribed in the FTP Act, has to be passed;

If a confidence motion, again using a prescribed form of words, has not been passed within 14 days of the no-confidence vote, Parliament is dissolved and a General Election is called.

What does the Fixed Term Parliament Act say must happen after the no-confidence vote and ahead of a confidence vote held in following 14 days?


The House of Commons Public Admin & Constitutional Affairs Committee says it is not defined.


The Act provides no guidance on what happens during the 14-day period following a FTP Act no-confidence motion being passed. The Clerk of the House says that what happens during this period is a matter of politics, and not of procedure.


The 14 days allow time for confidence in the government to be re-established. Whether through a change in personnel, policy or party is a matter for the political process.


It is possible that the DUP and/or the ERG could vote against the government in the no-confidence vote and then, having extracted commitments from the government, support the government in the confidence vote.


So it doesn’t look as if a Commons no-confidence vote will unlock the door to No 10 in the short term.


A People’s Vote on what is Best for Our Country may well be the surest way to secure those elusive keys.


You can find the full version of this article on our blog: https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2018/12/18/a-vote-of-no-confidence-in-the-government-is-not-as-simple-as-it-sounds/

Update 24

The People's Challenge

Dec. 17, 2018

Theresa May's rainbows and unicorns

In her speech on 9th January 2017, i.e. nearly 2 years ago, at the Charity Commission annual meeting, the Prime Minister promised that her government would have a "comprehensive, wide-ranging plan" to split from the EU.

"A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared; where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules; and where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives."

"I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks. I will talk more about our plans for economic reform, our plans to build a Global Britain and our ambitions to build a more united country."

OMG, how time has eroded these statements – I can hear Prof Brian Cox explaining entropy!

From the top:

"comprehensive, wide-ranging plan" is now clearly risible. There was no plan at all, and the sorry result is not her government’s plan but Theresa May’s so-called solution – an attempt to placate all camps in her party. This has not attracted support from anyone except loyal Tories supporting the party (literally at any cost) and those who value their political careers more than the good of the country;

"A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared…” now looks more like “we’re all poorer (cost of living, sorry state of the exchange rate of the pound, inflation…) and our shared opportunities have diminished even before Brexit has actually happened (businesses and financial markets closing down or moving away from the UK, even food crops rotting in UK fields)”;

“…where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules…” - one word, “Windrush”;

“…where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.” How long have you got? Loss of freedom of movement, uncertainty about UK citizens’ business interests and property in EU27 countries, recognition of UK professional qualifications in the EU27, ease of working (whether temporarily or permanently) in the EU27, threat to easy accumulation of pension rights acquired throughout the EU27…

"I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks.” No! Over time, less and less has been said about this Utopian fantasy. For good reason: because that’s exactly what it was. UK citizens were being promised something that was undeliverable, and we now have a clear idea of what the outcome of the “plan” would be – more dystopian than Utopian.

How much worse it is, even at its best, than EU membership. It would cost dearly, leave us subject to many rules but with no voice in the decision-making process, abdicating our key role in the development and future of Europe. And for what?

Brexit, before it’s even happened, has dealt body blows to our beleaguered NHS, farmers who grow our food, people whose work it is to keep us safe, employment prospects all over the country as well as losing us institutions and organisations that contribute to our national prestige (EU Youth Orchestra, EU drug approval body…).

“…our ambitions to build a more united country." Even when she said this, it was clear that Brexit was dividing the country, not uniting it.

The situation for Scotland (which clearly voted to remain, and had been made promises at the time of its own independence referendum about what continued membership of the UK would mean), for Northern Ireland (where a peace achieved after centuries of conflict and bloodshed is now threatened by the let’s-try-to-placate-everyone “solution” being proposed), and even for friends, neighbours and families divided on the issue – all these show the “ambitions” as the hogwash they are.

And then of course there are the EU27 citizens, who in fact are net contributors to the UK economy and have skills we are already missing, who are leaving the UK because they’re being made to feel unwelcome.

Plus there are the UK citizens who live in Gibraltar, of course. The situation with Spain has been delicate for decades, and they have been sold down the river because their circumstances just don’t fit in with the “plan”.

This also applies to any number of other UK citizens (no one knows how many), whether with personal or business interests in the EU27, resident there or with plans to be so. There are many ramifications to their situations which are just too varied and inconvenient for the negotiators on either side to deal with. These people are going to be losing rights without even the courtesy of this being acknowledged.

In 2016, nobody warned that it would be like this. Leaving the EU was supposed to be as easy as pie, new trade deals in a heartbeat, the whole of the rest of the world at the UK’s feet…

What’s being offered is nothing like what people voted for in 2016. And as TM herself is so fond of saying, “I want to be very clear about this”: it is an offer. We do not have to accept it. It’s now time to have a vote on what’s on offer… or not on offer. And the options to be voted on must be based on What is Best for Our Country a question which must include an option to continue to be a member of the EU.

You can also find this article with links on our blog: https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2018/12/17/theresa-mays-rainbows-and-unicorns/

Update 23

The People's Challenge

Dec. 12, 2018

From the Three Knights Opinion to the CJEU ruling on Article 50 - a long year’s

Almost exactly a year ago the germ of an idea started to develop at The People’s Challenge, based on the High Court decision in the Miller case and the work our legal team had done for the Supreme Court defence against the Government’s appeal.

If Parliament had to authorise the Article 50 notification of intention to leave the EU, wouldn’t they also have to make a decision to authorise leaving the EU once the terms were known? We sketched an outline of our thoughts and asked John Halford at Bindmans LLP to explore it from a legal standpoint.

During January the legal team started shaping the arguments based on the question. By the time the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Miller case, we had a clearer idea of what was required.

By the time the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was published at the end of January, the legal team was sufficiently confident on the issues for us to produce briefing documents for MPs and Peers about the requirement for an Act of Parliament once the terms were known.

We continued this work during the progress of the EU (NoW) Bill through Parliament.

In parallel, what was now known as the Three Knights Opinion was being finalised and was ready to be published in mid-February.

Our final briefings to Peers and MPs included the published Three Knights Opinion.

As we know, the EU (NoW) Bill eventually went through in a very brief form and received its Royal Assent on 16th March 2017.

It was clear to us that there would, in all probability, have to be a reference to the CJEU at some point to get a definitive answer on the question of unilateral revocability of the Article 50 notification. The primary reason for this was that it was essential for Parliament and the public to understand what the options were, when it was time to decide whether the withdrawal terms were acceptable or not.

With the legal team, we considered the possibility of mounting a campaign ourselves. It was clear that we were not the people best placed to initiate such a claim, as we may well not have been able to get past the permissions stage. As ever there was also the question of timing.

Our view was that parliamentarians, particularly Westminster MPs, would be best placed to bring such a challenge as they would ultimately have to decide what course to take when the terms of the withdrawn agreement were known.

Nevertheless, we were ready to intervene or assist if we could add to an eventual challenge and offered to do so where it seemed appropriate.

The challenge by Andy Wightman & others was the first that looked as if it had serious “legs” and even so they had a long struggle to get the Court of Session to refer the question to the CJEU.

Also Chris Leslie MP and Tom Brake MP decided to intervene in the case, increasing the number of Westminster MPs. Just as importantly, John Halford at Bindmans and Gerry Facena QC, one of our QCs in the Miller case and a co-author of the Three Knights Opinion, agreed to act for them.

We have already commented on the hearing at the CJEU in Luxembourg and the Opinion written by the Avocat General assigned to the case.

The CJEU’s ruling justifies not only the Opinion written by Sir David Edward QC, Sir Francis Jacobs QC, Sir Jeremy Lever QC and the QCs that acted for us in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC, but also the initiative started nearly a year ago with the support of our backers.

Today’s ruling is not only crucial in the campaign for our Parliament to take back control from an increasingly authoritarian government, it is a stunning example of perseverance and the power that people have when they believe in what they’re championing and work together.

Congratulations and thanks to the named individuals in the case, whether claimants or interveners:

Andy Wightman MSP, Ross Greer MSP, Alyn Smith MEP, David Martin MEP, Catherine Stihler MEP, Jolyon Maugham QC, Joanna Cherry QC MP and Chris Leslie MP, Tom Brake MP;

the two legal teams and above all the thousands of people who helped fund this long journey and make the result possible.

BTW, we are asked from time to time why this wasn’t resolved during the Miller case.

During the hearings in the Miller case, the Government had asserted that once they had triggered Article 50 there was no going back. It was an assertion we were quite prepared to go along with, as it strengthened the arguments in favour of ensuring Parliamentary sovereignty.


Note 1. Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has one judge from each Member State, assisted by eleven advocates general whose role is to consider the written and oral submissions to the court in every case that raises a new point of law, and deliver an impartial opinion to the court on the legal solution. Although Advocates General are full members of the court, they do not take part in the court‘s deliberations, and the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the court.

Although the court reaches the same solution as the Advocate General more often than not, it cannot usually be stated that the advocate general’s opinion has been ‘followed’ in any given case, because the court may have reached the same conclusion via different legal reasoning. The role of Advocate General is created by Article 19(2) of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 253 and 254 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Note 2. The Three Knights Opinion.

The Three Knights Opinion was commissioned by The Peoples Challenge after successfully resisting the Government’s attempt to use Royal Prerogative to trigger the Article 50 notification.

The Opinion’s authors are Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC, Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG PC QC, Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (retired) and the QCs that acted for the People’s Challenge Group in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC.

Sir David Edward QC practised at the Bar in Scotland prior to his appointment as the United Kingdom’s Judge at the European Court of First Instance from 1989-1992 and subsequently Judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 until 2004. In 2004 he returned to become a part-time judge of the Court of Session in Scotland. He is a Privy Councillor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford.

Sir Francis Jacobs QC served as the United Kingdom’s Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1988 to 2006, having previously combined an academic career as Professor of European Law at the University of London with practice at the Bar. He is the President of the Centre of European Law at King’s College London and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in December 2005 and continues to practice at the Bar.

Sir Jeremy Lever QC is one of the most senior and respected figures in EU and competition law. During his more than fifty years at the Bar he acted in many of the leading cases in the fields of European law, competition law, and regulatory public law, including on behalf of the UK Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Dean of All Souls College, Oxford and in 2003 was knighted for services to European Law.

Note 3. Supreme Court decision in R (Miller) vs SSExEU

The People’s Challenge played a significant part in the arguments in the Divisional and Supreme Courts which resulted in the ruling that the Government was not allowed to trigger the Article 50 notification using Royal Prerogative and it required primary legislation by Parliament because of the implications for UK citizen’s fundamental rights.


Update 22

The People's Challenge

Nov. 21, 2018

Govt. attempt to block test of Art. 50 revocability rejected by Supreme Court


The UK Government’s attempt to block a key, perhaps what is currently the key, Brexit related judicial referral has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court.

Incredibly, given the expertise and resources the Government has expended, the Government’s request for permission to appeal the decision of the Edinburgh Court of Session has been rejected for the simple reason that the Court of Session has not yet made a decision.

If this seems all rather illogical I am not surprised, but the question being asked is more complex than it might first seem and consists of multiple parts.

The question of “whether, when and how the notification … can unilaterally be revoked”, the question asked by the MPs, MSPs and MEPs in the case, is a complex one involving both UK and EU law. The question was explored in the Three Knights Opinion that The People’s Challenge commissioned in early 2017.

The full blog piece can be found here - 

Govt. attempt to block test of Art. 50 revocability rejected by Supreme Court

Update 21

The People's Challenge

Oct. 19, 2018

France prepares emergency legislation to deal with Brexit

The French Senate is in the process of reviewing legislation giving the French government powers to legislate as required for the UK’s exit from the European Union. It highlights the differences between the deal/no-deal/post transition scenarios.

This Projet de Loi is causing quite a stir with some people, it is being reported that UK citizens will become illegal immigrants on Brexit day…

This is not what is being said. The bill seeks to minimise the damage that the UK is insisting on inflicting not only on itself but on its citizens in the EU27 countries and more precisely France itself. Would that the UK government should adopt that same standpoint!

We will not become Martians overnight, we will become third country nationals, many of whom currently live happily and successfully in France and have rights under French, EU and International law, even though those rights are less than we, as EU citizens, currently enjoy.

You can find the full article on our blog: France prepares emergency legislation to deal with Brexit.

Update 20

The People's Challenge

Sept. 28, 2018

The Millions in the Margins - Introduction and Summary

Today’s blog piece is our first in a series presenting the work that has been done in our “Millions in the Margins” campaign.

Our legal advice is, despite the restricted brief our fund-raising covered is very long and at times difficult to grasp. In view of this we will be publishing it in segments accompanied by explanations and practical examples of the points made.

You can find the full article with links on our blog: https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2018/09/28/the-millions-in-the-margins-introduction-and-summary/

Update 19

The People's Challenge

Sept. 18, 2018

Why don't people understand what EU Citizenship Rights are?

Ex-CBI chief lambasts EU leaders and UK over citizens' rights

Paul Drechsler says politicians should be ashamed that citizens’ rights in UK and Europe have not been guaranteed.

Paul Drechsler makes a good point, but it is clear that he does not understand what EU citizenship rights actually are.

EU citizenship rights are not just the limited right to reside, work and study that the EU and UK negotiators have distilled them down to for their convenience. Even then the rights that the EU & UK propose to “grant” are surrounded with caveats and are often less than non-EU citizens who are resident in the EU are entitled to.

So much for the EU’s promises to preserve the rights of people who have made life-changing decisions based on their EU citizenship rights. Note “preserve”: that should mean that they won’t change.

EU citizenship confers a broad and complex set of rights that we currently hold as EU citizens. You do not have to be living, working or studying in another EU country to be exercising those rights, either:

  • You might simply have a business, perhaps one that you operate personally from your home in the UK using Ebay or Amazon, which trades across the EU.
  • You may have purchased a property in a EU27 country so as to be able to retire there and exchange the high cost of living in the UK for a lower cost of living in a EU27 country with a climate that is kinder to people in their later years.
  • Perhaps you own a business in a EU27 country even though you still reside in the UK.
  • Or you may simply go on holiday in an EU27 country where you hire a car using your UK(EU) driving licence and rely on the protection of your European Health Insurance Card while you are there.

None of these rights are protected in the draft Withdrawal Agreement!

The scale of this attack on our citizenship rights is becoming clearer, and even if a withdrawal deal and a transition period are agreed, it may well only defer the day when these rights are finally lost, when Theresa May’s self-imposed red-lines result in the UK sitting outside the EU without a deal - let alone one that is even close to being as beneficial as the UK’s current membership of the EU.

We have another government minister, this time Michael Gove, seeking (deliberately?) to undermine the UK’s integrity and trustworthiness by insisting that a deal could always be undone at a later date. If the deal is undone by the Prime Minister, as Michael Gove suggests, then what happens to the few, if any, rights preserved under an exit deal?

On Monday we had Theresa May spelling out that it’s “her way or no-way”  'Chequers or no deal' warning angers Tory right a position which angers people all across the political spectrum just as her “Chequers” deal does. And this is a person who serves a democratic country ruled by a sovereign parliament.

All of this, and the evidence of the social and economic damage that is already being caused in the UK, and the clear indicators of how much worse it will be after we have left the EU, is driving the increasing demand for a vote by the people on the deal that Theresa May finally agrees (or fails to agree).

At their party conference the Lib-Dems have taken a strong position that remaining in the EU has to be one of the options once we know what deal has (or has not) been struck by Theresa May. But even they do not recognise that our EU citizenship rights are not covered by the so-called protections in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

All eyes now turn to activists and politicians in the other parties to see whether they have the courage to press for a sensible decision on what is Best for the UK.

This is not to override what weak politicians call the “will of the people”: this is to ask the people whether their will is still the same, now that we are so much better informed about the consequences of leaving the EU.

That question is not something a democracy, its parliament, government or opposition of the day should be frightened of, unless political self-interest is more important than what is Best for the UK.

Unless the interests of the people are not one of the priorities that politicians are concerned about?

It is simply asking what the will of the people is at the end of 2018 and whether it is the same as it was in mid-2016.

As David Davis said in 2012: “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

 

Update 18

The People's Challenge

Sept. 16, 2018

Brexit heat causes febrile activity among Brexiters and UK Government alike

UK government no-deal papers are appearing, that is, papers that set out real penalties for ordinary people. These penalties may still apply even if a withdrawal agreement and transition period is agreed but there is no post Brexit agreement on the relationship between the UK and the EU. Rumour has it that the most inflammatory of these papers are being held back until after the Conservative Party conference.

Don’t let’s forget, a transition period only puts off the day when we have to face up to whatever Theresa May and the Brexiters do or do not agree with the EU, and after 29th March it will be too late to decide that our current membership of the EU is actually what is Best for the UK.

But this is just what some members of the government and the Brexiters want to bounce us into – agreeing to something without knowing what it is, understanding all that it will mean or indeed anything else of significance.

And the, mostly friendly, warnings keep rolling in. This business will no longer be profitable, this business can already not find enough workers, Brexit could cost the taxpayer £x on exit day, never mind ongoing costs and increased costs. Here are some examples from recent news:

  • Dominic Raab, the recently appointed and immediately demoted Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, lambasting John Lewis for suggesting that the post Brexit vote exchange rate has an impact on corporate profits: John Lewis’s boss rejected Dominic Raab’s Brexit jibe;
  • Government ministers, including Dominic Raab, claiming EU27 leaders were going to tone down Michel Barnier’s position on Brexit, something immediately denied by EU officials: EU leaders will not give Michel Barnier new Brexit instructions;
  • The UK trying to make side-deals with the EU states about the transport issues, a strategy that the EU has on multiple occasions said will not work. Nevertheless one of Theresa May’s acolytes, in this case Chris Grayling the “master” of all things related to transport, wrote to the EU27 states about a side deal on the transport issues. There is nothing more childish and embarrassing than being caught sneaking around to the back door in the hope of getting a better reception. Plus it only serves to confirm a view of the UK as “perfidious Albion”;
  • The currency markets misreading comments that Michel Barnier made and sending sterling into such a tizzy it managed to climb back a few cents from its current low. But when you look at the language Michel Barnier used it is no different to other statements he has made over the past months;
  • Jaguar Land-Rover now reminding everybody that it will be a lot cheaper to produce vehicles in Slovakia, a country where J L-R is already transferred production of the Discovery to and perhaps even a new Defender: The company recently revealed production of its Discovery model will be shifted from Solihull to the new plant;
  • Stalinesque measures taken by the Tory party to silence dissenting voices at the Tory party conference: three Best for Britain members refused passes to the Tory conference.

Then there is the Chequers agreement, an agreement that nobody will back, whether Brexiter or EU state. But Theresa May and her acolytes persist in flogging this dead horse, which should be recognised for what it really is - a dead donkey that should be dropped - because effort would be far better spent elsewhere, such as working out what (at this point) is Best for the UK.

You have to wonder what could be done to improve the situation for people in the UK if the same effort was directed at removing the humiliating excesses of the “gig economy”, addressing the need for food banks and providing a NHS that targeted at the needs of the people and not the needs of some fatuous economic model.

The Brexit heat is now having a serious effect on the Brexiters, both in and out of Government. They are stumbling around, delirious and sleepy because they insisted on standing out in the hot sun screaming at the neighbours about the hedge clippers. And boy, do they get unpleasant when you suggest they might like to sit down, relax and have a nice refreshing glass of reality and common sense.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 17

The People's Challenge

Sept. 11, 2018

The summer winds down, but the Brexit heat continues to rise.

Evidence of the damage Brexit is doing to the country is increasing, as is the evidence that the will of the people is changing.

Some of the most convincing evidence of the change in the will of the people is the shift of opinion among the unions and their members. The motion that the TUC passed on Monday, along with the poll of Unison, Unite and GMB members confirms this.

All this is encouraging MPs, across all parties, to question the government’s premise that the choice is simple: whether the UK leaves with or without a deal.

The opposition to Brexit is growing, not because of some dogmatic, ideological opposition but because of the evidence that membership of the EU, with the concessions and opt-outs the UK has, is in the best interests of the UK. Those concessions were hard-fought and hard-won, and once lost will be gone for good, in all likelihood.

Brexit is being defended with all the negatives of ideologues who know there is nothing positive about their chosen course, but believe that they are being betrayed by everybody else turning against them – the original bunker mentality.

Meanwhile we are working away at documenting just how little protection there is for UK citizens’ rights in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

The fact of the matter is that UK citizens’ rights can only be properly protected by the UK remaining in the EU. Any other option will result in those rights being diminished and even removed due to political expediency and pressures that play on both the UK and the EU27.

We have known for a long while just how big the gaps in the draft Withdrawal Agreement are when it comes to protecting citizenship rights. The EU and the UK have translated/downgraded citizenship rights to the right of residence and the limited right to work and study.

Too much is being predicated on the future relationship of the EU and the UK, whatever that might be, if anything, and ignores the historical situation. This is all a matter of political expediency because a proper job is just too complicated and time-consuming.

What is less obvious is that the rights being offered are in fact less than are available to citizens of non-EU countries who are long-term residents of or have long-term interests in EU countries.

There is another completely forgotten group, those UK citizens who live, work, study or have interests in Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The negotiations about what protections may apply to them are still ongoing, according to the UK government.

The reality is that UK citizenship rights are enshrined in the laws and regulations of the other EU and EEA countries. The half-hearted protestations of the UK and EU negotiators that they are being protected are little more than political window dressing.

That is not to say that there isn’t any redress available for the removal of these citizenship rights, there is, the work by our legal team shows that. But it will involve individuals and groups of individuals challenging governments and possibly the EU in the courts.

We should not accept the reduction or restriction of these fundamental rights by government or administrative fiat, just as we didn’t when Theresa May tried to trigger Article 50 using archaic Royal Prerogative.

We will continue to support, and intervene in or initiate where appropriate, challenges to the UK government and the EU which protect the constitutional right of UK citizens to have their citizenship rights determined and protected by the UK’s Parliament.

Politicians cannot be allowed to bodge what is happening today and threaten the future of the UK in order to cover their incompetence/ignorance at the expense of the people of the UK.

Over the next few weeks we will set out in more detail how UK citizens’ rights are being ignored and compromised in the Brexit negotiations.

What is very clear is that the only way to fully protect UK citizenship rights is for the UK to remain in the EU and for the UK’s Parliament to face up to its responsibilities as the protector of those rights.

As UK citizens we also have a responsibility to stand up for Parliamentary sovereignty and support our representatives, parliamentarians and others, in protecting our rights.

Update 16

The People's Challenge

Aug. 19, 2018

Other campaigns and challenges we face

The need for the political will to change the course the UK is taking.

The reason that our win in the Supreme Court did not alter the course the UK is taking is that there was a. no political will to challenge the referendum decision and b. the major pro-EU political groupings were caught completely “flat-footed” by the Supreme Court decision.

In the end the government proposed and the UK’s Parliament passed a very short Act.

Brexit is a political decision even though it is underpinned by a number of legal processes.

Changing the course that the UK is taking requires that the UK’s Parliament makes a political decision.

A “People’s Vote” will require that the UK’s Parliament legislates for a third referendum and sets the terms and conditions, something that many forget when espousing that “the decision on the final Brexit deal must not rest with a few hundred politicians in Westminster”. It does no good to denigrate the very people who you are reliant on to deliver what you wish for.

Will one of the national campaign groups step up to the mark and be the first to put the “big egos” to one side and unravel the “confused messaging” to take the lead with a clear message and an inclusive stance on how to achieve What is Best for the UK?

Other challenges we face – Entryism in the Conservative party?

This article in yesterday’s Guardian highlights a significant threat that the pro-EU movement faces - Brexit: Tory MPs warn of entryism threat from Leave.EU supporters Leave.eu is asking its members to join local Conservative party associations so as to elect a “true” Brexiter as Tory leader in what they consider to be an inevitable leadership election.

Absent of a credible possibility of a pro-EU government formed from the opposition parties, and that probably wouldn’t happen until 2020 anyway, the prospect of a Tory leader who is not just prepared to accept a hard, no-deal Brexit but would positively work for one is a serious threat to the best interests of the UK.

Update 15

The People's Challenge

Aug. 15, 2018

The approaching meltdown

The recent temperatures have been added to by the increasing fractiousness of the EU/UK negotiations which have in large part been caused by the ever increasing “it’s all the EU’s fault” rhetoric coming from pro-Brexit politicians and UK government ministers.

Indeed it seems that some UK politicians and government minister revel in trying to increase the discord in the negotiations in order to justify their position that the UK is right to leave the EU in the face of inflexible EU rules and policies – rules and policies that the UK has played a major role in drawing up.

Let us not forget that the Single Market was devised and driven by the UK in order to provide friction-free trade across the EU.

The upshot of all this defensive rhetoric from the UK is that a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely.

The impact of this will be that the number of UK citizens who are represented by the “Millions in the Margins” will increase substantially as there will be no protection for UK citizens who have made life choices by exercising their fundamental EU citizenship rights.

Jane Golding, chair of British in Europe, an alliance of some of the groups of UK expatriates living in EU 27 countries, wrote yesterday in the Guardian about how Brexit will ruin the lives of British nationals living in EU27 countries.

However, the ruination of British nationals’ lives extends far beyond the lives of British nationals living in EU27 countries.

The initial advice provided by our legal team on the “Millions in the Margins” highlights the fact that the effect on British expatriates in EU27 countries is only the tip of the iceberg.

The flawed draft withdrawal agreement only provides partial protections for British nationals resident, working or studying in EU27 countries, it does not provide equivalent rights or protections for the rights that British nationals currently enjoy.

It provides NO protection at all for the millions of other British nationals who have made life choices based on their fundamental EU citizenship rights.

The draft agreement also discriminates between groups of individuals based on their nationality and/or residence - people in equivalent situations are not afforded equivalent rights and protections.

Without a doubt British nationals who have exercised fundamental EU citizenship rights come out of this very badly compared to EU27 citizens resident in the UK. The blame for this has to be shared by both the UK government and the EU Commission.

The EU commission has gone back on its stated aims to protect all EU citizens to an incredible degree, even refusing to allow British nationals in EU27 countries continued freedom of movement.

Here at the People’s Challenge we now have two directions to travel in terms of work to be done:

first, we need to develop the initial advice as an accessible briefing document to get out to politicians and people in general as we head towards the big decisions this autumn;

second, we have to develop this initial advice in order to cater for the extended and catastrophic effects of all British nationals being left in the margins of a non-agreement.

We hope that one of the national organisations will step up and pull together a common strategy, particularly given the evident shift in public opinion. – a shift that is significant but still far from decisive.

As always we will be sharing the information and advice we develop with other groups in the hope and expectation that this will help generate co-operation and will prove the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

We are slightly over half way to our £35,000 stretch target which represents what we need to raise to complete this work – once again we ask you to help raise further funds so that we can continue this work.

As an aside, you may know that another legal challenge is being mounted in the UK courts challenging the constitutionality of Parliament authorising the Article 50 notification.

This is the fifth one, the other four were not even given permission to proceed. Even if this latest one is given permission to proceed it won’t, of itself, stop Brexit.

As we have highlighted in previous posts it is arguable that under the UK’s constitution, Parliament cannot make a decision on leaving the EU until it has a clear understanding of what the alternative to EU membership is.

The deception of the Leave campaign with regard to its spending during the referendum needs to be brought out into the open and those responsible should be held to account. But that is a separate issue and is no silver bullet for stopping Brexit.


Update 14

The People's Challenge

July 18, 2018

The Millions in the Margins - Why we have to look after ourselves

Apart from the usual work of keeping up with the Brexit news (and watching Theresa May’s government apparently falling apart), the past couple of weeks have seen us occupied with reading and analysing the draft Millions in the Margins advice that our legal team has produced.

We are discussing with them various points of clarification and elaboration.

It’s 46 pages-worth of what we pay our legal eagles for, so light reading it is not: we are therefore working on how best to present this information to the various groups of people we need to get it to. Obviously, first and foremost are our supporters, then there are various other groups we co-operate with.

We are building a catalogue of personal situations that are representative of various groupings of UK citizens who in the main part are being ignored in the exit negotiations and will lose all their EU citizenship rights as well as some who will have those citizenship rights severely curtailed.

Some of these situations also show how UK citizens are being discriminated against compared to citizens from EU27 member states.

These situations are based around factual examples of people we have met or worked with since we started campaigning in late 2014.

We also need to address these issues with MPs, MEPs and members of the UK’s assemblies to help illustrate how the fundamental rights of millions of UK citizens are being ignored. Despite what the UK & EU negotiators are saying, the issue of addressing these rights has not been “taken care of”, and there is far from equal and parallel treatment of the various groups of people affected including EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens.

The analysis of the limited protections also shows how the EU have progressively retreated from their position of protecting the rights of EU27 and UK citizens who have made significant life choices on the basis of being EU citizens moving freely around the EU28 to the very much more limited position of protecting the right to reside and to a limited extent work cross-border.

There is no doubt that there are complex situations and issues involved, and many of them, but it’s a question of people’s rights, and deserves attention and analysis, not being dismissed as “question too difficult” as the UK’s and EU’s negotiators have seemingly done so far.

As we said in a previous post, only The People’s Challenge is doing this detailed work covering the impact of the withdrawal agreement on fundamental citizenship rights enjoyed by all UK citizens. As we have previously done we will distribute what we produce to all our supporters and to the many formal and informal groups we work with.

____________________________________________________

We value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 13

The People's Challenge

July 10, 2018

Harry Shindler at the General Court of the EU

French Avocat Julien FOUCHET has set out in an article in La Connexion his thoughts on the case he has taken to the CJEU on behalf of Harry Shindler and 12 others.

According to La Connexion, “Despite Mr FOUCHET having lodged the case a year ago, today’s hearing still focused on preliminaries – having to prove to the judges that the case is worthy of a full hearing of all the arguments because it is founded on real harm done to his clients as a result of the referendum in which they could not take part.”

Getting past this permissions stage is crucial in being able to present the substantive arguments, see our previous blog post.

Avocat FOUCHET says that the judges in this permissions hearing may take until September or October of this year to return a decision on whether the case can proceed.

If that is the case then we have to recognise that by September/October political decisions will be done and dusted.

La Connexion reported Avocat FOUCHET as saying “The president of the court [lead judge] said they will consider three possibilities, that the case is admissible, it is not admissible, or that there will be another hearing that will consider the admissibility and the detailed arguments at the same time.”

There is no guaranteed win/win in any case. The arguments in this case are multi-faceted as we outlined in our blog piece based around the commentary of Aurélien ANTOINE, a Professor of Law at the Jean Monnet University, St Etienne.

First of all the case has to be accepted by the court and we have to wait another 2 or 3 months to find out whether that will happen. The main questions seem to be whether Harry Shindler and his 12 co-claimants are entitled to take the issue to the CJEU at this stage, at least in part because the EU Commission contends that there has not yet been a decision on whether any rights will be lost.

If the case is accepted the court then has to listen to and adjudicate on the substantive arguments.

What won’t happen is Harry Shindler or any of us UK expatriates being forced to return to the UK by EU27 countries, that is Project Fear at its very worst.

What may happen is that we lose fundamental citizenship rights, but that won’t just happen to UK expatriates, it will happen to millions of UK citizens, most of whom live in the UK.

There is a fight to be had, but it is not just about the rights of UK expatriates, it is about the rights of UK citizens.

There is a lot of material in the Millions in the Margins work we have commissioned. Alongside the “Three Knights Opinion” and the Gold Card booklet which we commissioned and published last year, it will be an essential part of understanding what is at risk for ordinary people - the rights and opportunities that are being sacrificed on an altar of political expediency and dogma.

This collective body of work also demonstrates conclusively why it must be the UK’s Parliament that has the final say on whether leaving or remaining in the EU is what is best for the UK and its people. 

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 12

The People's Challenge

July 6, 2018

The Millions in the Margins has arrived... almost.

Earlier this week we received the draft of the legal advice “The Millions in the Margins” which we commissioned on your behalf from John Halford at Bindmans and Gerry Facenna and his colleagues at Monckton Chambers.

With the scope of the brief the advice is extensive, some 46 pages, and complex. Even though it is still a draft we are very pleased with it

The team have told us it is “very clear” our concerns about marginalisation of a great many UK nationals in the negotiations are “well founded” and that “many are simply left unprotected” adding that the advice we have commissioned:

 “…will highlight absences in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement including:

  • categories of people whose rights have not been protected by the withdrawal agreement, even where they may have made past life choices in the expectation that they one day would have a right of residence in another state; 
  • inconsistencies in the withdrawal agreement between the treatment of different types of relationship;
  • gaps in the protection of some children and disabled people; and,
  • certain special rights which currently guarantee family cohesion but are no longer being protected.

The advice will look at ways in which residence rights can be lost and the risks this presents as well as the restrictions which have been placed on continued rights, effectively locking people in to a single country.

We examine the extent to which the gaps in protection in the Withdrawal Agreement are inconsistent with a number of fundamental legal requirements including: 

  • the duty on the EU to respect fundamental rights and certain international law obligations when entering into agreements with a State which is to become a non-Member State;
  • the duty to respect the principle of non-discrimination; and
  • the duty to respect the prohibition on retroactivity as well as the principles of legal certainty and legitimate expectations. 

 We conclude that there are real grounds for concern that the Withdrawal Agreement fails to respect a number of these rights, duties and principles.”

This work is essential and unique: only The People’s Challenge is giving the Withdrawal Agreement, which in its final form may shape the fate of millions, the independent scrutiny it requires.

Given that there are inevitably questions and clarifications, as well as making sure we address issues brought into plain sight by the British Chamber of Commerce, the Professional and Business Services Council and the Business Minister (Greg Clark) in the past few days, it will be a few days yet before we have the final version.

We are working with our legal team to clarify and hone the advice in the light of the fast developing circumstances. Even yesterday there was yet another, far from perfect (David Davis says “impossible”), proposition leaked out from No. 10.

Rest assured, though, we will be bringing this information to you, as soon as we can. 

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

 

 

Update 11

The People's Challenge

June 24, 2018

Business Secretary nearly admits that Brexit hurts people as Foreign & Health Se

On Thursday last, the Business Secretary Greg Clark came perilously close to admitting that Brexit and Theresa May’s “red lines” will hurt “ordinary people”, UK citizens who live in the UK.

He was speaking at an International Business Festival in Liverpool and explaining how important the services sector was, not only in its own right but as part of the manufacturing sector.

When people think about the services sector they usually think about the City of London – insurance, investments and banking.

But that is only part of the story. The service sector embraces accountants, lawyers, publicists and marketing professionals, safety and service engineers, IT professionals, people who advise on supply-chain management and Just-In-Time manufacturing processes…

Many of these people need to have their professional qualifications recognised in the countries they work in, to satisfy national regulations or to satisfy the quality assurance procedures of the companies they work for.

All of them need to have freedom of movement, freedom of operation to be able to travel to where they need to work.

According to Greg Clark, the EU is by far and away the largest consumer of UK services, £90 billion in 2016, giving us a surplus of £14 billion. The next 8 largest services export markets do not add up to the size of the EU market.

More than a third of the value of the UK’s manufacturing exports is actually services, the in-service support and maintenance following on from the initial sale.

Why highlight all this in the context of our Millions in the Margins campaign?

The people we are talking about are resident in the UK, and even if they are currently classified as cross-border workers (and many will not be), only have limited protection under the current exit terms.

Of course if the people are EU27 citizens with the right to reside in the UK they will not only have their qualifications recognised under the terms of the exit agreement their freedom of movement in the EU27 countries is also guaranteed.

Another example of how the tick-box approach to negotiations is prejudicing the EU citizenship rights of UK citizens.

With Theresa May’s “red lines”, there is little prospect of them being protected under any future trade deal between the UK and the EU.

Some of these people are employees of large companies, some are owner/operators of Small/Medium sized Enterprises, and others are self-employed or sole traders.

All of them are at best in the margins of the current draft exit agreement, some of them are actually off the page and have not even been considered by the UK or the EU in their negotiations.

This is yet another example of the over-simplification of the situations of real people, who are likely to suffer real harm if the UK and the EU persist in not recognising them and the problems they will face.

If we want what is Best for the UK we need to know how people will be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

This is not speculation, nor is it “Project Fear”, in fact what we are describing is the outcome under what is probably the most favourable of available Brexit outcomes.

With Theresa May’s “Red Lines” and her tendency to follow the dictates of those who favour a Hard Brexit the reality could well be a lot worse.

Mind you at least Greg Clark is still arguing on behalf of business as opposed to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt who seem to be giving them the proverbial finger.

Whether you want a “Soft Brexit” or “No Brexit” we need this information about how ordinary people are being ignored, their rights diluted and devalued and how our children’s futures are being thrown under a big red bus covered in lies.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 10

The People's Challenge

June 22, 2018

Numbers under the Brexit bus

The current version of the Brexit deal is the talk of the town, but sadly it’s much ado about nothing.

There’s very little in the current Brexit deal, much of what is there is controversial in one way and/or another and what remains to be talked about (whether people want to talk about it is another matter) is fraught with difficulty.

People are being thrown under the bus, not the trade bus but the Brexit bus.

And it’s not just UK citizens in the EU. It’s any UK citizen who’s made significant life choices based on being an EU citizen, it’s any UK citizen whose future life choices will be limited by Brexit, it’s anybody who’s got family and/or friends who fall into those groups… and more.

The issue about the numbers involved has come up again and now we have a crucial piece of feedback: the majority of the UK citizens registered in the EU are said to be working.

It’s common knowledge to people who live in France and Spain (which between them host the majority of UK expats) that there are large numbers of UK citizens living there who are older, retired, semi-retired, early retired, etc. So it seems to be getting ever more obvious that the official figures are off (for those who still doubted that they were).

However, there are significant geographical variations. In and around places like Paris (big city and capital city) and Toulouse (aerospace), there will almost certainly be a majority of younger, working people drawn by employment and undaunted by higher living costs.

In rural France (which is most of it, by the way), you will find that many UK citizens are over-50s drawn by the weather, the lifestyle, the cheaper cost of living… and (hopefully) undaunted by the distance to the nearest Starbucks.

I have drawn my examples from France because I know the country. The same may be, indeed probably is, true of Spain and perhaps other EU 27 countries.

The point is that you can't assume a one-size-fits-all solution will do the job, something David Davis needs to wake up to when he assumes that the vast majority of UK citizens living in EU27 countries, i.e. those who have exercised their EU citizenship rights, are retired, only interested in pensions being paid and not interested in freedom of movement.

The point is that we need to work with facts, otherwise we cannot realistically assess what the impact of Brexit will be, and how many people will feel it directly. Generalisations based on unproven figures are easier to come up with, but they aren’t helpful, and worse, they may be extremely misleading.

Citizenship rights apart, many people are already feeling the foreshocks of Brexit as prices rise, crops stay unpicked in the fields and EU 27 nationals prepare to return home or decide not to come to the UK in the first place. The beleaguered NHS, touted (sorry, but that’s the word) as the primary beneficiary of Brexit, is already among its first victims, and the UK is still a member of the EU.

It’s late in the day to still be asking for real information. There is an argument to be made that significant work should have been done on this before the referendum. But it wasn’t. As Dr Phil says, “It is what it is and the only time is now”.

But would you get on a train or a plane, or even a bus, to go somewhere unknown, carrying a ticket that has no price on it? It’s time to press for real information, substantiated facts, unbiased reasoning. Only on this basis can an informed decision be made about what is best for the UK and all its citizens.

The People’s Challenge will shortly, hopefully next week, have the results of the first tranche of work on the Millions in the Margins commissioned from our legal team.

Undoubtedly it will take a little while for us to digest what they say and how best to put it out. They are legal eagles, that’s what we pay for, and so, perhaps somewhat inevitably what they provide us with will to some extent be couched in terms of legal precedents and references. We will get it to you as soon as we can.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 9

The People's Challenge

June 10, 2018

Disingenuous Government doesn't want Parliamentary Sovereignty or Rule of Law

Pro-EU Tories are quietly considering a government proposal aimed at averting defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The MPs are holding back on their response to the compromise offer, though one said they believed it to be insubstantial. The amendment would bind the offer of a parliamentary vote into the bill, but remove Parliamentary control of how the government should respond to any defeat.

“A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “Our amendment removes parliament’s ability to direct the government in relation to negotiations, which would set a huge constitutional precedent in terms of which branch of the state hold prerogative to act in the international “

Not for the first time, the government is being disingenuous.

The crux of the matter is that the government is not just operating on the international plane, its actions (inactions?) also operate on the domestic plane as the treaty negotiations affect the UK's constitution and the fundamental citizenship rights of all UK citizens.

This is why the Supreme Court upheld the Divisional Court’s rejection of the government’s claim that it was entitled to use Royal Prerogative to make the Article 50 notification.

As Helen Mountfield, our lead QC in the Miller case, has said, the UK has made a decision, in accordance with our constitution, to notify the UK’s intention to leave the EU – “the EU (Notication of Withdrawal) Act, passed so hastily, only gave the prime minister power to give notice of her current intention to withdraw the UK from the European Union.”

Helen also says “In debating what might happen next, it is vital to remember what is still legally possible. It is politically, as well as constitutionally important to understand that the deed is not yet done. We are not yet tied to leaving the EU; and in fact the prime minister does not yet have power to take us out.”

Indeed there are solid legal arguments that the UK’s Parliament is unable to make a definitive, binding decision on leaving the EU without knowing what the alternative is.

Again as Helen says, rejection of an UK/EU exit treaty (or even no treaty) does not mean that the UK falls out of the EU without a deal – “What happens if, as a result of that vote, parliament rejects whatever deal is on offer? The government says the only other option is to leave with no deal. That is simply constitutionally wrong. In the absence of parliamentary authority, the prime minister cannot take us out of the EU on any terms at all. That is what the rule of law means.”

Quite the opposite, the rejection of an exit deal or a no deal conclusion would, under the UK’s constitution, result in the UK remaining in the EU under the terms that currently exist. Again there is solid and authoritative legal opinion to support this position.

In simple terms, if the UK’s Parliament rejects the UK/EU exit treaty, or the absence of one, then there is no need to withdraw the Article 50 notification. The Article 50 notification fails because Parliament will have rejected the replacement of our EU membership with something else.

Indeed it could be counterproductive to force the UK Parliament to make a decision between the only two clearly defined alternatives that are currently available – exit the EU on WTO terms or remain a member of the EU.

This is perhaps provocative, and it would undoubtedly be clearer for Parliament to set out its position in a Statute, but any attempt by the government to fudge the situation and remove the UK from the EU without primary legislation is likely to be met with another successful court challenge.

As Lord Hope (former Deputy President of the Supreme Court) said “It is all about respecting the sovereignty of Parliament. The law will see to that whatever the Government think, as it always does. I do hope that the Government will be sensible about this, and that further recourse to the courts will not be necessary

Notes:

  1. Three Knights Opinion

The Opinion’s authors are Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC, Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG PC QC, Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (retired) and the QCs that acted for the People’s Challenge Group in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC.

Sir David Edward QC practised at the Bar in Scotland prior to his appointment as the United Kingdom’s Judge at the European Court of First Instance from 1989-1992 and subsequently Judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 until 2004. In 2004 he returned to become a part-time judge of the Court of Session in Scotland. He is a Privy Councillor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford.

Sir Francis Jacobs QC served as the United Kingdom’s Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1988 to 2006, having previously combined an academic career as Professor of European Law at the University of London with practice at the Bar. He is the President of the Centre of European Law at King’s College London and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in December 2005 and continues to practice at the Bar.

Sir Jeremy Lever QC is one of the most senior and respected figures in EU and competition law. During his more than fifty years at the Bar he acted in many of the leading cases in the fields of European law, competition law, and regulatory public law, including on behalf of the UK Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Dean of All Souls College, Oxford and in 2003 was knighted for services to European Law.

2. Supreme Court decision in R (Miller) vs SSExEU

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 8

The People's Challenge

June 8, 2018

Both sides claim victory as No 10 makes backstop "concession"

So, has the EU given in to the blandishments of the UK, has the UK broken down the forensic, considered position of the EU?

No, this has nothing to do with the negotiations between the UK and the EU on the UK government’s ill-conceived intention of dragging the UK out of the EU at any cost and against what is clearly in the best interest of the UK.

This headline is about nothing more nor less than a commentary on the infighting between two factions (individuals?) in what is laughingly called the “ruling” party in the UK.

This petty, Tory turf war stands in stark contrast to principled positions that politicians took in the first referendum back in 1975. Labour is also guilty of prioritising its party political position over the interests of the UK and its people.

Unfortunately the debate about what is best for the UK and how to deal with Brexit has boiled down to a series of positions, stances and meaningless statements intended to bolster a party’s position in the polls.

It is now down to the public to mobilise behind groups focused on bringing common sense and more importantly democracy to play in the crazy world that this Brexit charade is being played out in.

Whether that is helping one of the bigger groups to organise and mobilise people locally and nationally to encourage sensible politicians to seek a sensible solution or by backing smaller more closely focused groups who are trying to show how ordinary people will be not only disadvantaged but also penalised by selfish, self-centred politicians.

While the bullies in the playground duke it out about who is the top dog the rest of us have to take the opportunity to take control and show why what is in the best interest of the UK is not some bi-partisan macho fight but a sensible, considered assessment of what is best for all of us.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 7

The People's Challenge

May 27, 2018

Far worse than playing hide & seek with the EU, the UK government is playing hid

Michel Barnier has claimed that the UK government is playing hide and seek with the EU during the Brexit negotiations.

British citizens, at home and abroad, have known this for months, almost years now.

The UK’s government is hiding from the consequences and realities of leaving the EU, while seeking to blame anybody and everybody for its own failure to develop and negotiate a solution that is better for the UK and its people than what is currently available to the UK as an EU member.

Blind dogma and a careless disregard (incompetence) for the impact of their “policy” on ordinary people have led to an impasse. The Govt. has picked a political direction that lends it popular support. If it changes course it feels (sometimes quite reasonably) that it will lose support and be replaced, but if it doesn’t change course it will run headlong into a wall (along with the rest of us, thanks very much for the lift). Whatever happens though, they won’t give up control.

They’ve tied themselves up in a neat little bow there, haven’t they?

The proverbial man on the proverbial Clapham omnibus probably has a firmer grip on the grim realities of the current situation than many of the government denizens of Whitehall.

Should you feel pity for the politicians, should you be loyal to your fellow {insert political alignment}? Why should you? Where is their loyalty to you? Does your Govt., party or MP work first and foremost for you? Do they sacrifice to solve your problems or do they sacrifice you to solve their problems?

Whatever the answers to the above questions, it is clear that the Govt. is not fit for the purpose of negotiating Brexit. We must therefore see to seek out the answers to our problems ourselves and present them to our elected representatives.

That is why we’ve asked our legal team to look at the draft exit treaty and the protections it provides, or more likely doesn’t provide, for UK citizens both at home and abroad.

Via our CrowdJustice campaign, we have so far raised nearly enough to start the work that is required. By adding to that not only the £5,000 match funding we committed to but also diverting a further £4,000 from the general fund for running The People’s Challenge, we have been able to instruct the legal team on the initial tranche of work.

Our original estimate of the cost of undertaking the Millions in The Margins work was £35,000 plus the £5,000 match-funding we committed. This means that we still need to raise a further £30,000 via our CrowdJustice campaign, or else scale back the work that we set out.

When it comes to crowdfunding, it’s almost never about the size of the contribution and almost always about the number of contributors/contributions. Having said that, the average pledge is encouragingly high, but we do need you to support us with donations of whatever size. We’re hoping you can help with a further donation and/or by encouraging others to make donations.

The money will be well spent and accounted for, just as in previous campaigns.

____________________________________________________

We value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have The People's Challenge - logoobjectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

If you share our concerns about the work needed to promote the outcome which is in the best interests of the UK, please consider making a donation by clicking on the Gold Card image above.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please send us a donation so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

 

Update 6

The People's Challenge

May 23, 2018

Where we're up to and what's next

Initial Target


We’ve hit our initial target, and once again our huge thanks to all those of you who made it happen. You’ve made it possible to kick off the next tranche of work (see below), but first, a bit of background.

Obviously this first tranche of work we have agreed with the legal team is less than originally planned and how we extend that work depends on how the fund-raising progresses.

Even if we don’t extend the work, we still need to raise money to publish, circulate and lobby based on the results of the team’s work.

It would be a great pity if we can afford to get the legal tem to provide legal advice and can’t afford to be able to use it to good effect.

Once bitten, Twice shy!


UK citizens have long been concerned about how they are treated, both at home and abroad, by UK government departments seeking to restrict rights and entitlements.

The scandal of how the Home Office has treated the Windrush generation has sharpened these concerns about how the UK government will behave in the future, how the UK government may disenfranchise them, disown them

The promises by the UK and EU to preserve the rights of UK citizens who have relied on their EU citizenship rights are paper-thin and in some cases non-existent. A small proportion of all the UK citizens who are having their rights stripped away are protected to a limited extent by the exit agreement. Neither the UK nor the EU are doing anything to protect most UK citizens.

At the beginning of this month when giving evidence to the House of Lords EU committee David Davis was reported as not appreciating that ongoing freedom of movement was important to UK citizens residing in EU27 countries:

“Davis is now talking about whether Britons living in the EU will have onward movement rights (the right to move, say, from Spain to France). He says he did not realise until recently how important this was to some retirees.

He says the commission is treating this as an ongoing relationship issue. It remains to be resolved, he says.


Onward movement is important to all UK citizens resident in the EU. Retirees are a minority of UK citizens living in EU27 countries, possible only as little as 40%.


People who are working may have their next placement in another EU country and need to retain the freedom of movement they currently have, which they probably relied on when accepting the current placement.


People who work in or have retired to a EU country may later feel, with the passing of the years, a need for (say) warmth and sun in Portugal, not chill and rain in Brittany.


The Govt.’s cavalier attitude and acknowledged ignorance about the scope and fallout of their actions speak volumes as to the value of their statements, made almost daily, regarding their intention to get “the best out of Brexit”. To get the best out of something, you first have to understand it.


In summary, reckless, and certainly harmful, incompetence abounds.


Work commences


Our legal team is now working on producing a plain English summary, covering:

  • The draft withdrawal treaty and the extent to which the provisions in it are incomplete or in many cases completely absent for the various groupings of British nationals;
  • Identify where human rights may be breached because of these omissions;
  • Look at areas where the treatment of the different groups may be unlawfully discriminatory, such as the plans for marked differences in treatment between UK nationals and other EU nationals once the transition period ends.

The objective is to identify what the marginalised, just about all UK nationals to a greater or lesser extent, can do to rectify the situation, whether politically or by recourse to the courts.

This will include discussion of example cases we have identified and the preliminary work done by John Halford in his Millions in the Margins document.

We expect that this work will be completed around mid-June.

We have agreed a capped total fee of £11,500 inc. VAT for this work. This fee has been agreed at great personal cost to the legal team and The People’s Challenge directors. It and the fee for the preliminary work done by John Halford on the Millions in the Margins document have considerably eaten into the funds set aside for the inevitable running costs associated with a campaign organisation such as The People’s Challenge.

Continue fund-raising


So you know what’s coming next: we need to continue the fund-raising. The People’s Challenge continues on its “iceberg” way (about 10% of the work visible, about 90% invisible). Expenses are still being incurred, time’s still being spent identifying and analysing the issues and deciding what we need to do about them.

If anything, this is taking even more time than before, as campaigns and challenges, for better or worse, pop up all over the place.

Once again, we’re asking you to put your hands in your pockets. Our legal team can only work if there is a client to instruct (and pay) them.

We believe that one of the hallmarks of the People’s Challenge campaign is our top-quality legal advice and our willingness to put it in the public domain whenever we can. It’s good enough for other campaigns to quote it without acknowledgement, so our best bet is to take that as a compliment!

So please help us if you can…

You can find the full post plus all the links on our blog: https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2018/05/23/where-were-up-to-and-whats-next/


Update 5

The People's Challenge

April 20, 2018

Transitional agreement - no help to ordinary people

The Millions in the Margins is about the millions of British nationals (both in the UK and elsewhere) who are being reduced to notes in the margins of documents being generated in the negotiating process

The Millions in the Margins is also the name of the article written by the leader of our legal team, John Halford of Bindmans LLP, which explains how these citizens’ rights are not being protected and how seriously their situations are not being taken or indeed being understood.

John gives us a lot to take in, we intend to discuss some of his points and scenarios in separate pieces in the near future.

One of the issues that’s preoccupying us at the moment is that of Brexit transitional arrangements, which are being hailed as presenting certainty and security for the future of the UK.

In fact the transitional arrangements are only putting off the critical moment when Brexit consequences can no longer be fudged around with loose talk and the distractions of other issues.

Politicians are using the words “transitional agreement” as smoke and mirrors to obscure the fact that there is NO certainty about where the UK and its people will end up, let alone whether that place will be somewhere that is in the best interests of the UK and the likes of you and me.

We haven’t taken back control: we’re skidding down the road sideways.

Transitional arrangements give businesses some hot tarmac hastily laid in front of them to provide more road space to adjust to the changes that inevitably come with the UK leaving the EU.

But what about ordinary people? The YOUs and MEs who are UK citizens with a whole range of rights we will certainly lose, as things stand.

The UK and the EU pat themselves on the back for being able to reassure the British nationals living in a EU27 country and EU27 nationals living in the UK.

More smoke and mirrors, there are millions of British nationals who are completely unprotected, and even for those British nationals resident in a EU27 country, protections are only partial and provide no certainty.

There is no hot tarmac for individuals, no additional time, on exit day we’ll be off the road and into a ditch so big that we’ll disappear from view entirely.

____________________________________________________

We value your support.

If you share our concerns please make a donation to our Championing the Millions in the Margins CrowdJustice campaign.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times to the various campaigns we have run and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please send us a donation so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 4

The People's Challenge

April 20, 2018

Less than a year to go & still the UK and the EU ignore ordinary people's rights

We are less than a year away from “Exit Day” and what that means for each of us is no clearer than it was the day after the referendum.

A number of the wider issues have been overlooked or ignored, seemingly for expediency’s sake, by the negotiating teams and the EU has skipped over some of them just as the UK has.

Whether looking at the areas affecting EU citizens that have been “agreed” or those that have been ignored, it seems likely that that the agreement, if there is one, will breach EU founding principles and the rights enshrined in its treaties.

Whatever the case may be, the draft treaty is certainly a deception and a disappointment for the millions of UK citizens who have made significant commitments based on the rights they have as EU citizens.

We have already identified a variety of problems. Some seem relatively straightforward on paper; in practice they are not, but protecting people’s rights has never been easy or expedient.

An example is British nationals born in a EU27 country and entitled to citizenship of that country. Unlike Northern Ireland citizens who only have to “assert” their right to Republic of Ireland nationality to retain their EU citizenship rights, these British nationals have to take the nationality of their country of birth, something that is not always possible unless they give up their British nationality.

The issue of continuous absence is another, equally serious, problem. Although the draft agreement does not compel any state to terminate residence status after 5 years of continuous absence, it does allow it. This compounds the usual problems about how to prove, or disprove, absence, as well as who is responsible for doing so.

Does your business operate across the EU, how will the change in VAT regulations impact your business? Does your business use a .EU domain name or another EU27 country domain name? Even if you simply trade on Ebay or Amazon how will the UK leaving the EU affect you?

Pan-EU recognition of professional qualifications continues for those that have them on “Exit Day” but what use is that if you have no right to work in the EU27 countries or provide cross-border services into EU27 countries?

Another group of people not being protected are those with property on the other side of a future UK/EU27 border.

Whether they bought a property with the intention of retiring there or used to live in that country, they have made “significant life choices” based on their EU citizenship rights, but they remain unprotected or have perhaps been deliberately ignored because it was too difficult for the negotiators.

These are but a few of many examples of various groups of people, with problems of varying gravity, in a variety of family, professional and geographic situations.

The EU Parliament has a crucial, and perhaps pivotal, role to play and not only in protecting the EU’s founding principles and the citizenship rights conferred by the various treaties.  It is in the enviable position of being able to refer the treaty to the CJEU while it is in draft form, unlike ordinary citizens, or even groups of them, who have to wait until the treaty has been concluded.

It is possible for the lay person to identify some of these issues, but to understand their wider context and how they may be defended and contested, a better understanding of the complex web of national and international law, including EU law, is needed.

It is for this reason that we are crowd-funding so as to be able to commission our team led by John Halford at Bindmans LLP to set out the extent to which millions of British nationals are being marginalised and disenfranchised and how they may be protected.

It is work that is important not only if the UK leaves the EU but also in demonstrating the full complexity of the consequences of the simple binary choice offered to the UK electorate in the referendum.

____________________________________________________

We value your support.

If you share our concerns please make a donation to our Championing the Millions in the Margins CrowdJustice campaign.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times to the various campaigns we have run and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please send us a donation so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 3

The People's Challenge

April 20, 2018

Three Knights Opinion to be tested in the Scottish Courts

In another victory for Parliamentary sovereignty, a panel of judges in Scotland’s highest court allowed that the question of whether an Article 50 notification is revocable should be heard in a Scottish court.

In handing down the ruling, the Lord President (Lord Carloway) of Scotland’s Appeal Court (Inner House of the Court of Session) said that the petitioners (a cross-party group of MPs, MSPs and MEPs were right to argue that the UK Parliament is sovereign.

The Opinion of the Court says:

“The issue of whether it is legally possible to revoke the notice of withdrawal is, as already stated, one of great importance.”

It goes on to say “On one view, authoritative guidance on whether it is legally possible to do so may have the capacity to influence Members of Parliament in deciding what steps to take in advance of, and at the time of, a debate and vote on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.”

and

“After all, if parliament is to be regarded as sovereign, the government’s position on the legality of revoking the notice may not be decisive.”

The Decision of the Inner Court is to send the petition back to the Outer House of the Court of Session to be heard.

The arguments being made in the Outer House hearing will be heavily influenced by those in the “Three Knight’s Opinion” which we commissioned and published a year ago. Obviously we will be following the hearing very closely and, if it would assist, will provide our support and help.

____________________________________________________

We value your support. The work we do is not always as obvious as taking the government to court. Some of it takes time to reach fruition and others, as in this case, may be best placed to use the results of the work we have done.

If you share our concerns please make a donation to our Championing the Millions in the Margins CrowdJustice campaign.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times to our campaigns and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please send us a donation so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 2

The People's Challenge

April 20, 2018

Do you know how many people are NOT being protected in the UK/EU exit treaty?

This article in the Guardian quite rightly identifies that British nationals resident in EU27 countries and EU27 nationals resident in the UK are not having their fundamental citizenship rights properly assessed or protected in the exit treaty negotiations.

This comes as no great surprise as individual rights have hardly figured in the Brexit debate which has been dominated by grand and amorphous concepts of “taking back control” and “global influence”.

The plight of the British and EU27 ex-patriates, of which I am one, is not to be underestimated. However even the number of them is grossly underestimated. For instance, the UN estimates for British nationals living in France (130,000) falls far short of the French government’s own estimate of 400,000.

Our research shows that, apart from British nationals resident in EU27 countries, there are a dozens of groups of British nationals, numbering several million, who have exercised their EU citizenship rights in a significant and meaningful way and have NO protection under the terms of the draft exit treaty by virtue of the fact that they will not be resident in an EU27 country on the required date(s).

In fact many of them have never been resident in an EU27 country.

This is not just about making sure ALL those people are properly protected when (if) the UK leaves the EU, it is about making sure that sufficient light is shone into the Brexit murk to ensure that people are aware of the personal consequences for the millions of British nationals who have made life changing decisions based on their EU citizenship rights.

That will help contribute to making people aware just how complicated Brexit is.

The current focus of the EU and the UK on their convenient and discriminatory definitions of who needs their rights protected is shallow and lacking in the “Good Faith” that both those parties deem important enough to include in its own clause in the draft agreement.

Just as it was when we took on the government over its unconstitutional assertion that it could use the archaic "Royal Prerogative" to trigger the Article 50 notification, we need to expose and oppose the bureaucratically convenient notions on fundamental citizenship rights and how to protect those rights.

Almost without exception none of the political or campaign group leaders are speaking up for the millions of people threatened with the loss of their hopes, dreams and even livelihoods that are based on those fundamental citizenship rights.

____________________________________________________

We value and need your support.

If you share our concerns please make a donation to our Championing the Millions in the Margins CrowdJustice campaign.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times to our campaigns and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please send us a donation so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Update 1

The People's Challenge

April 20, 2018

The People's Challenge - Championing the Millions in the Margins.

With much fanfare, the latest version of the draft withdrawal treaty was announced at the beginning of this week.

There is not yet agreement on all parts of it, and “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, but it does seem to set out how the UK and the EU are going to go about dealing with EU citizenship rights.

In this the treaty is both a disappointment and a deception.

Why a disappointment? The starting point for the negotiations was to agree “reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens”, and it does nothing of the sort. Even for those groups of people who are covered by the draft treaty, the protections are limited and inadequate.

Why a deception? Because both the EU and the UK talk as if British nationals and EU27 nationals who have acted on those fundamental citizenship rights are being properly protected.

The EU and the UK have agreed that acting in “Good Faith” is important enough to warrant a clause in the draft agreement. But the deception extends to the “Good Faith” principle apparently not applying when dealing with all European Union citizens.

Not a single group of British nationals is being fully protected and there are, broadly speaking, only a few groups of British nationals who are only partially and very inadequately protected.

With this in mind, we have agreed with John Halford at Bindmans the next tranche of work for us to pursue. In short, the Draft Withdrawal Treaty needs urgent, intense scrutiny from legal experts who can identify its flaws and so arm the public and their elected representatives – in both the UK and EU Parliaments – to take action to prevent the stripping away of rights. With your support, we will  commission that expert opinion and accessible guides for the public on how to deploy it effectively.

John has written a comprehensive introduction to that work. It is of necessity a “long read” and you can find it here. We have summarised it below.

It is a substantial piece of work, so we are launching a new Crowd Justice campaign, as we did for the challenge to the government  on its proposal to use the Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50 and for commissioning the “Three Knight’s Opinion”.

There will be continuity with that work as Gerry Facenna QC, who was part of the team involved in the challenge to the government and one of the 5 legal minds who produced the “Three Knight’s Opinion”, will be leading the work by the barristers on this latest work.

John, Gerry and colleagues at Monckton Chambers will be reviewing the draft withdrawal treaty and the extent to which the provisions in it are incomplete or in many cases completely absent for the various groupings of British nationals. They will identify where human rights may be breached because of these omissions.

They will also be looking at areas where the treatment of the different groups may be unlawfully discriminatory, such as the plans for marked differences in treatment between UK nationals and other EU nationals once the transition period ends.

The objective is to identify what those who are being marginalised, which just about includes all British nationals to a greater or lesser extent, can do to rectify the situation, whether politically or by recourse to the courts.

This work is important, not just to show how incomplete the draft withdrawal treaty is, but also how empty the words are.

Once again it will help cast light on the impact of Brexit on the rights of ALL EU citizens and what the loss of those rights will entail. Something that has been a guiding principle of what The People’s Challenge has done.

John makes a telling point in his introduction:

the negotiators’ aim was not to preserve EU citizenship in a first or even a second class form; it was to protect those who have exercised core free movement rights or are about to. This, aim, coupled with the principle of ‘bright line rules’ so beloved of officials, has a number of striking effects. For those who have no interest in or wish to enjoy, the benefits of EU citizenship they will not matter. But a great many people will be marginalised and disenfranchised.

Even those British nationals who will have some degree of protection should not be complacent, John points out that what the draft agreement proposes for them “is not as secure as it first appears; they can all too easily find themselves forced into the margins of those documents, where they will join the millions that are to have no rights at all ”.

The fragility of their status is increased because they will have to be able to evidence that they continue to exercise the limited rights they are being “granted”, as the automatic rights they have now will be removed.

Apart from the limited protections accorded to those who meet the residency qualifications in the draft agreement, there are huge groups of people who are simply ignored or form part of an apologetic footnote.

Taking just a couple of points from John’s introduction:

those who have established businesses in other states (itself a core economic right) but are resident elsewhere have no obvious protection in future”, neither do “those wishing to exercise other economic rights, in particular secondary establishment and cross-border provision of services by those who are not frontier workers. The way these groups are dealt with in the note belittles their significance”.

The work that John, Gerry and the team are going to do will go beyond analysing the treaty and highlighting its deficiencies: they will also be looking at what the possible remedies might be.

For example, if the EU Parliament believes the Draft Agreement itself breaches EU fundamental rights, it has a duty to withhold approval - and if it is in doubt, it can refer the Agreement to the European Court of Justice for a conclusive legal view, even before the Agreement becomes a formal treaty.

As John said at the end of his introduction to the work we are commissioning, the UK and the EU “have almost pulled off the most ambitious branding exercise ever undertaken in Europe: presenting arrangements that will ultimately strip millions of their existing fundamental rights as generous rights-granting measures for the minority that will benefit in future.

Of course that minority comprises millions of people too, but that will be little consolation to those who fall just outside the protected groups because their “past life choices” are not quite the right ones or because they planned to exercise their EU citizenship rights, but have yet to do so.

Parliamentarians, whether MPs, MEPs or members of the UK’s devolved assemblies, have a responsibility to represent ALL the people affected, not just a few of them. It is a responsibility they should embrace, and once properly informed, they should act on it.

The People's Challenge will matchfund the initial target of £5,000 to ensure that work can start swiftly. We will need to crowdfund around £35,000 to complete the work.

____________________________________________________

We value your support.

If you share our concerns please make a donation to our Championing the Millions in the Margins CrowdJustice campaign.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times to the various campaigns and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make another contribution or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what's going on, understand what they are, or aren't, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please send us a donation so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

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