EU and UK Expats to sue UK lawmakers over EU election fiasco

Published:  27 May at 6 PM
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Claiming a ‘systematic denial of the right to vote’, both British and EU expat campaigners are preparing to sue the UK government.

In an interview with the media, lawyer John Halford said the electoral chaos was intolerable for any country which considers itself a democracy. The right to vote, he added, is the foundation of citizens’ rights, with the events of last Thursday a systematic, large-scale discriminatory denial of the right. The case, he continued, will show the law will not tolerate such actions.

Halford is working with the UK-based 3million group which represents EU citizens living and working in the UK as well as the British in Europe campaign which represents UK citizens living in the EU. Last Saturday, a crowdfunding campaign was set in place in order to finance the case, already being explored on consultation with several well-known barristers including Dinah Rose and Anelli Howard. According to Howard, one argument could support multiple breaches of European Union treaties including the EU’s Article 20, based on the entitlement of EU nationals to the right to vote under identical conditions to those of the country in which they are living.

The lawyers are looking to mount a judicial review test case showing multiple forms of discrimination leading to an ‘unlawful’ judgement. If this case is successful, a £100,000 fundraiser will take place, followed by a full explanation as to how those affected will be able to seek and get not only compensation of treatment judged to be unequal, but also compensation for out-of-pocket expenses and emotional distress. Many of the expats affected are calling for the entire election to be declared invalid.

The action will be based on the fact that many EU citizens were prevented from voting as their names had been deleted from the ballot, with Britons living abroad either receiving their ballot papers too late to use them, or not receiving them at all. Electoral Commissioner Bon Posner has conceded the election process wasn’t up to scratch, adding that one reason was the British government had presumed Brexit would invalidate Britain’s participation and therefore left it too late to announce the election date.
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