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.
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
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
WE’VE DONE IT! £40K RAISED IN 24 HOURS
#DeniedMyVote Legal challenge Continue reading #DeniedMyVote – the next steps
Wow! Thank you! We have reached the total required to scope the project in less than 4 hours. We’re off to do some hard work and will come back to you in the next couple of weeks with the results of the project scoping. At that point we will tell you how much we need to raise to fund any possible action so if you missed this fundraiser, hold onto the thought and be ready for the next.
In the meantime, if you want to donate to BiE to support the ongoing work we are doing, then just click ‘Donate’ in the above menu.
On Monday 29 April, 1039 days after the vote to leave the EU, the3million and British in Europe representatives were invited to meet with Secretary of State, Stephen Barclay. This invitation was initiated by Alberto Costa MP who requested the meeting during PMQs before Easter and he was also present. Jane Golding and Jeremy Morgan represented BiE. Continue reading Meeting with Secretary of State, Steve Barclay
YOUR VOTE IN THE EUROPEAN ELECTIONS
We are still EU citizens with our full political rights and can still vote in the European elections – make your vote count in these critical elections
Unless the UK Parliament passes a deal to leave the EU before 22 May, UK nationals will be able to vote and stand in the elections for the European Parliament held at the end of May. Continue reading Make your vote count in the European Elections
Citizens’ rights groups tell heads of state to save their rights
Citizens’ rights organisations British in Europe and the3million who represent the five million people most directly affected by Brexit demand an immediate end to crippling legal uncertainty in the wake of an agreed extension to the Brexit process until 31 October. Continue reading Save our Rights – stop our uncertainty
Our new campaign has launched to demand the right of all UK residents, and all UK citizens living abroad, to vote in general elections and referendums. The Let Us Vote campaign, launched today by the3million, British in Europe and Another Europe is Possible, is backed by a number of MPs and is expected to snowball after its launch. Continue reading Let Us Vote! Join our new campaign