Earlier this year, France published legislation that will take effect should the UK leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. Citizens’ rights were included in this ordonnance and the subsequent decree. We take a look at the differences between what is included in the French legislation and what has been agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement. There are considertable differences.
Edition: 30 July 2019
Dear Briton in Europe,
Last week the BiE advocacy team were in Brussels with our friends from the3million to push for the ring-fencing of citizens rights whilst in London the Conservative Party elected a new prime minister. In his first few days, PM Johnson already seems to have set a crash course with the European Union,which will probably end in a No Deal and a general election (or perhaps the other way around).
The two lobbying teams had a packed programme at the European Parliament and met the newly-elected MEPs from the major political groupings: European Popular Party (Christian Democrats); the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats; Renew Europe (Liberals); Greens;United Left. They also had a very useful meeting with Antonio Tajani, ex-President of the EP and new chair of AFCO, the constitutional affairs committee, one that has particular importance for Brexit-related affairs….
The BiE advocacy team were in Brussels (23-24 July 2019) with our friends from the3million to push for the ring-fencing of citizens rights whilst in London the Conservative Party elected a new prime minister. In his first few days, PM Johnson already seems to have set a crash course with the European Union, which will probably end in a No Deal and a general election (or perhaps the other way around). Continue reading Two days of intensive lobbying in Brussels
Imagine the scene — a modern conference room in the sprawling office complex of Berlaymont, a building which Brexiters love to imagine as the pulsating heart of the Evil Empire. A delegation of well-intentioned British parliamentarians is meeting the urbane and competent EU lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to discuss citizens’ rights for Europeans in the UK and Britons in the UK. Continue reading FIONA GODFREY MAKES AN IMPASSIONED PLEA TO PROTECT CITIZENS’ RIGHTS
On Wednesday 3 July 2019, five representatives from British in Europe gave evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Exiting the EU headed by Hilary Benn MP. This was supported by comprehensive written evidence. Continue reading BiE give evidence to Exiting the EU Select Committee
A great number of you supported our CrowdJustice appeal which enabled us to research and analyse well over 1,600 individual cases of citizens on both sides of the Channel who were denied their vote. We used our findings to get advice from our expert public law practitioners.
Following this advice British in Europe, as explained below, will not pursue further action at this stage. However, the3million will go ahead to start legal proceedings against the Government. You can support them and donate to their new appeal. They need to fundraise another £65,000 in order to issue the claim by mid July 2019 and seek permission from the High Court to proceed to a full hearing.
A message from British in Europe
British in Europe wishes their sister organisation the3million every success with their legal claim although, with great regret, we will not be taking the claim for British citizens any further. We worked with the3million to raise the money to investigate the claims of both groups and to get legal advice on their prospects. A great deal of effort by BiE in a very short time went into two surveys of UK nationals living in the EU27 who wanted to vote in the UK, and these revealed that they faced widespread difficulties and that, as we thought, a great many people were unlawfully denied their right to vote.
Together with the3million we consulted solicitors and had a meeting with a QC and junior counsel. Unfortunately our legal advice was that, although individuals who did everything correctly to be able to vote but were unable to do so may well have a claim against the authorities charged with administering the election in their constituencies, there are important differences between any claim brought against the Government by, on the one hand, EU citizens deprived of a vote in the UK and, on the other, EU27-based UK citizens with similar experiences. As a result our claim would need to be brought against a number of separate public authorities and would be legally more difficult to win.
We are really grateful to everyone who contributed their hard-earned cash to enable us to investigate the claim, but we would not want to ask you to contribute more to a claim which might well not succeed and which would expose the claimants to costs risks of litigating against several public authorities.
However, your contributions will not be wasted. The survey evidence and detailed analysis of the law we obtained will help us to call upon the European Commission to add the experience of UK citizens in the EU27 to the investigation they have already initiated into the problems EU citizens had voting in the UK, and to press for a proper inquiry in the UK itself. And many of the problems for us arise not just in EU elections but in all UK votes, and add insult to the injury of the 15 year rule. Thus we will also be pursuing a political campaign to try to change electoral law as well as Electoral Commission regulations.
We have also asked our solicitors, Bindmans, to prepare a short “Do it yourself” guide to the small claims court for anyone deprived of a vote who wishes to make a claim against the electoral authorities in their constituency or to pursue individual complaints. We will publish that as soon as possible.
Finally, we do not yet know precisely how much will be left over from our share of the money raised through crowd funding for the first phase – we are working this out with the3million and our lawyers – but we will let you know what is going to happen to it as soon as we can. Under CrowdJustice’s unused funds policy, we hope to be able to use it to take forward British in Europe’s important campaigning work on electoral law reform and other issues.
Here at British in Europe we are proud of what we have achieved to date. We are now consulted regularly by both the EU and DExEU and have had influence on the negotiations to date.
However, in order to continue our work, we need financial support. Throughout the last 2 years we have funded much of our own travel and expenses as well as taken time away from our day jobs. We now need your help in continuing this fight. Money you donate will be used:
- To pay the expenses of our steering team so they can meet with the key negotiators in London and Brussels and attend events.
- To pay marketing expenses so we can communicate better with our supporters.
Thank you to everyone who donates. Due to high workloads we are unable to thank all donors individually but rest assured, each and every euro is appreciated and will be used to advocate on your behalf.
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Today we are pleased to see that our recent meeting with Secretary of State Steve Barclay (below) has resulted in a clearly worded letter to Michel Barnier requesting the ringfencing of our rights in the case of no deal. Continue reading Letter to Michel Barnier from Steve Barclay
Buckling our seat belts for more of the Brexit roller coaster…
Dear UK citizen in Europe,
After the adrenaline-pumping drama of ‘the Brexit Day that wasn’t‘, we felt enormous relief at just still being European citizens. That was followed by the sinking feeling that we all have at least another six months trapped on the Brexit roller coaster. As an organisation, we have bounced back, buckled our seat belts and got back to work. To start with, we have produced a mission statement (see below), outlining what we can realistically do for Britons in the EU in the medium-term unless we are able to obtain significant funding. …
Thank you to all those who responded so quickly following the call for information from British citizens living in the EU who had not been able to exercise their rights to vote in the European Election in the UK, by post or by proxy.
Continue reading #DeniedMyVote – your help needed