Anti Brexit campaign group sets legal challenge against 2016 referendum

Published:  15 Aug at 6 PM
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The pro-EU campaign group UK in EU Challenge has launched a legal fight claiming the Leave campaign breached electoral laws by spending over its limit by almost £700,000.

Recently, the UK’s Electoral Commission found ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Vote Leave had cheated on the spending limit and attempted to hide its overspend. According to a press release by the group, in any general election and local authority referendum or election the court has the right to declare the vote null and void if cheating on spending is discovered. UK in EU Challenge, representing UK expatriates living in Spain, France and Italy, has submitted a judicial review to Britain’s High Court of Justice arguing the EC’s findings against Vote Leave and BeLeave, which resulted in two officials being given punitive fines, render the vote null, void and not lawful.

The two barristers representing the expatriate claimants have already acted for successful parties at the Supreme Court in the Article 50 legal case. Both are rejecting the government’s claim the court action is ‘out of time’ as the EC’s decision came as late as last month, saying that May’s decision to trigger Article 50 was based on a factual mistake in that the referendum vote was not ‘free, fair and lawful’ as it was based on a misdemeanour and was not in accordance with UK constitutional requirements. Named claimant Elinore Grayson, a UK expat living in France, told British media illegal intervention in UK elections must not be allowed to go unchecked. She added that nullifying a decision based on misleading or incorrect facts is a longstanding principle which must still apply at this crucial time.

Bremain in Spain chairperson and claimant Sue Wilson agrees, saying it’s necessary to make it legally clear you can’t win by ignoring the rules and cheating. Should there be a second referendum, she adds, the illegal action during the first one must not be repeated, adding the fate of UK expats in Europe is now in the hands of persons who care far more about their careers in politics than their country. They must not, she says, be allowed to succeed as the UK and its expat citizens in Europe deserve far better.
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