The People's Challenge
Ensuring the rule of law and the protection of people’s fundamental citizenship rights are key elements of our challenge.
They go back to the very first action we took when we initiated a challenge to the UK government’s intention to illegally use the Royal Prerogative to trigger the Article 50 notice.
The arguments we put forward in court about fundamental citizenship rights were decisive in winning that case; indeed some involved in the case have said the government would have won the case if we had not put those arguments forward.
We originally launched our current campaign in order to do two things: raise money to sustain the campaign work and relieve the financial burden on the 2-3 people who previously shouldered it, we also needed funds in order to update some of our previously-published material and re-examine the opportunities for further challenges in the light of the on-going exit negotiations.
The questions of people’s fundamental rights and the observance of the rule of law are now coming into sharp focus again.
At this time the negotiations are still extremely vague and it is still unclear who will be protected under the final agreement.
It is even less clear who should be protected by law from the fallout of a politically expedient set of negotiations.
The EU and the UK are treating EU citizenship rights as something that is only triggered by a single event: you move to a country and stay there, like transplanting a tree. We are not trees.
The reality of the situation is that EU citizenship rights are embodied in a variety of laws and regulations that enable an individual to live, study, work, retire in any of the EU member states. Exercising these citizenship rights can happen in a singular, discrete moment or they can be exercised as part of an ongoing event or events. Entitlement to these citizenship rights is in no way predicated on residing in an EU state other than your country of nationality.
It is unlikely that all EU citizenship rights can be preserved for all UK citizens; there is only one way that can be done with certainty. On the other hand it is clear that both the UK and the EU have opted for an arbitrary and simplistic scenario as a basis for the agreement on citizenship rights.
We have discussed this with our legal team led by John Halford and feel that The People’s Challenge can make a significant contribution to casting light on these issues, as indicated in previous posts.
Therefore we’ve put together an expert team to advise on who should be protected by the draft citizens’ agreement but have been left out of it, and the deficiencies in the protections being proposed for those groups covered by the draft.
We will then publish two documents – one for those groups of people who have reasonable prospects of being able to protect some or all of their EU citizenship rights through some form of legal challenge, and another document for those who have been left behind with seemingly little or no practical legal recourse.
And so now we have raised the limit for our campaign in order to fund work which will be undertaken by a team of legal experts led by John Halford.
This work affects millions of people. As well as publishing this material we will use it to inform and lobby MPs, MEPs and the members of the UK devolved assemblies on the deficiencies in the current draft agreement on protecting EU citizenship rights.
The era of governments being unaccountable for their actions is long gone and we need your help to again remind our political representatives of this.
If you care about the fundamental rights that Brexit puts in jeopardy, and the need for Parliament to safeguard them effectively, please help us to maintain our campaign and continue to stand up for you.
We need your support, please share and donate.
Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.
The scale of Theresa May’s defeat is incredible. Far exceeding anything whether measured in votes or percentages that a Government has suffered in the modern era.
But, which way does her defeat push things? The opposition to her deal will fragment and drift away - spread between the No-Deal, Norway, soft-Brexit, let’s renegotiate once we are in No 10, and pro-EU groupings.
Some will argue that if parliament is that divided then a People’s Vote is the only option, on the other hand a divided and paralysed parliament will inevitably lead to a No-Deal exit on 29th March.
What is needed now, more than ever, is leadership - leadership that will focus on what unites the greatest number of people rather than focusing on their differences.
The no confidence vote tabled by Jeremy Corbyn may well prove nothing as Thresa May almost certainly has enough backing to defeat it.
What will be crucial is what Labour does immediately after the no-confidence vote being defeated.
Will Jeremy Corbyn back the Labour membership in turning a conveniently ambiguous Brexit policy into a policy that will save the UK from the dark and dank corner that Theresa May and her Brexiters are steering the country into?
We value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 best for our country: what is 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.
You can follow us via our blog, on Twitter @PeoplesChalleng and our Facebook page.
Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.
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.
You can also follow us via our Blog https://thepeopleschallenge.org/blog/, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesChallenge/, or Twitter @PeoplesChalleng https://twitter.com/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.
You can read a full version of this post complete with links on our blog https://thepeopleschallenge.org/2019/01/02/the-past-two-years-very-much-resemble-the-curates-egg/
Before we start, “I want to be very clear about this”, nobody is suggesting ignoring the 2016 referendum result.
The world has moved on, we have far more information. It is entirely appropriate to ask people whether they are still of the same mind.
Theresa May asked the electorate to confirm who they wanted to govern the country after barely 2 years. Nobody said that ignored the previous election result, or that it was undemocratic. Tory MPs wanted a vote on who is their leader after 2 1/2 years, and had one.
Democracy is not something that happens every 5 years, or every 41 years in the case of the referendum, it is a system which should regulate how our country is governed every single day.
Indeed in recent time, on more than one occasion we have had to fight to be democratically governed, against a government seemingly intent behaving as a Theresa May dictatorship.
Those who propose fighting a General Election on the basis of Theresa May’s flawed deal versus membership of the EU are being disingenuous, as are those who are seeking to take advantage of the government’s Brexit incompetence to force a General Election in an attempt to gain the keys to No 10.
There has never been a party that has campaigned on EU membership as its sole manifesto issue. A manifesto is expected to contain a whole set of statements on policy and objectives that address the issues of the day, statements which with luck will not be mutually exclusive.
In any event, both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May stick to the dogmatic and largely meaningless mantra of “Brexit is Brexit”, and insist that the referendum result from 2 and a half years ago must be followed, apparently regardless of the damage to the UK and its citizens and residents.
EC/EU membership has divided all parties to a greater or lesser extent since the early ’60s.
In the 1975 referendum on continuing to be an EC/EU member, as in the 2016 referendum, the debate and campaign crossed party lines. As someone who listened to both, I have to say the 1975 debate/campaign was conducted to a far higher standard by both sides.
A General Election is a vote on which party is best able to deal with the multitude of issues facing the country (currently, for example, NHS funding, curbing of excessive influence of those who have most money, climate change, social care, social division, growing the economy, housing, Trident) over a five year period.
A referendum on a single issue such as membership of the EU is a fundamental matter that has consequences for peoples’ whole lifetimes, and those of their descendants.
Those consequences are not just the damage to the UK’s economy, the effect on UK citizens resident in EU27 countries or the effect on EU27 citizens resident in the UK.
There are direct and significant consequences, ignored by the UK’s politicians, the EU and the leaders of almost all the UK expatriate groups, for millions of UK residents with property, financial, business and family interests in EU27 countries.
These are the Millions in the Margins who have been “thrown under the bus” as an expedient solution for dealing with, or rather ignoring, people’s rights and obligations established by 45+ years of membership of the EU.
We now have so much more information on the actual, practical consequences of deciding to stop being a member of the EU than we had 2-3 years ago.
It is only reasonable to ask the electorate to confirm which of the options they want Parliament to take: Theresa May’s deal, or for the UK to continue as a member of the EU. It seems clear that the only opinion with a clear-cut majority is that No-Deal is completely unacceptable.
Dominic Grieve makes the arguments for a People’s Vote forcibly in his forward to Roads Not Yet Explored – Routes to a Final Say which sets out ways that this can be brought about.
Once we have settled the issue of Brexit, which is dividing the parties and the country, we can have a national debate and an eventual General Election to decide on the government best able to deliver what is best for our country on the multitude of hugely important issues being ignored by the current government.
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/
EU Citizenship is additional and does not replace National Citizenship and all UK citizens currently have this as a matter of right. It is unprecedented in the modern era for a Government to remove these rights and they are important as apart from access to the continent we call home, they guarantee democratic rights, health and social care and the ability to live anywhere we want within the EU. 48:52 in a faulty referendum does not under any circumstances represent a justification to tamper with our EU rights and they should be fully protected.
This is what I need, I feel so helpless despite being in regular contact with my MP. I hate the fact that my dreams of wanting to continue a worry free life in Greece could be ruined by the bunch of stupid morons, May, Davis et al, who cannot see the cack handed mess they are making of their negotiations with their EU counterparts which look certain to create a total mess of the UK economy! #STOPBREXIT
Well done Grahame. Your perseverance and energy is inspiring. Keith Kennaugh: the answer to your comment, I am sure and make to save Grahame the need to respond, is that (i) such costs as were awarded would have gone back into the fighting fund (ii) you never/rarely get full costs in any case and (iii) as an Interested Party (as in Miller) getting anything close to your actual costs is extremely rare - even if your role/participation in proceedings was helpful and important.
On a more general note: as a barrister (with some EU practice including working/living previously Brussels) who has followed the role of this organisation I wholeheartedly support it. It has a particular role in facilitating public action and knowledge - plenty of us at the Bar (including those mentioned/acting for the fund) are doing work behind the scenes (or occasionally in court of course) to seek to shed light on the issues arising (including briefing papers to both Houses of Parliament). But spreading the knowledge to the public is not our expertise.
I've contacted my MP & MEP's asking what they are doing to represent my views as an EU Citizen & the rights I will lose. Most ignore the question in typical politician fashion, one response was understanding but reflected their lack of power to change anything. 2nd ref is only way to unite the country.
You claim an impressive track record is of winning these cases already: were you not awarded costs which ought to go back into fighting the next case?
Whenever you give us an update the voice of sanity speaks which is very reassuring to hear amidst the vast amount of nonsense which is spouted. I keep hoping that somehow sanity will prevail in this mad situation.
Correction: Sue Wilson lives in Spain, not Italy and runs a pressure group called 'Bremain'.
There is currently another legal case proceeding against the govt by Sue Wilson (British citizen resident in Italy) on the grounds that the corrupt practices in the original poll render it invalid. The first court action was refused and it is now going to appeal (using some of the same barristers who were successful in the 'Enemies of the People' action). There is currently a significant shortfall in the funding for the appeal. It seems to me that given the close alignment of the objectives of the two groups it could make sense to combine forces on this.
The recent Electoral Commission report on the overspending of the 'Vote Leave' campaign found that the campaign had broken electoral law but stopped short of declaring the referendum invalid. This is apparently because the referendum was 'advisory' even though UK politicians on all sides have consistently acted as if it was binding. Is this an area where the validity of the referendum might be challenged in court?
Excellent news this lunacy must be stopped by any legally available means
Thank you for the update Graeme, much appreciate being made aware of the more complex issues of protecting our EU citizenship rights!
To keep the .eu on my website IF we Brexit, I would have to create a company within the EU and transfer ownership f the domain to that, according to longstanding EURid rules. .eu isn't as readily available as .com or .co.uk as it is and not all the big domain sellers sell it. even if they do, they won't sell to anyone without connection eg citizenship or registered company. There are 340,000 people/businesses in UK using .eu
Grand work everyone!! And thank you Grahame, very well done I am very grateful for one!
Graeme, without wishing to undermine your sterling efforts, are you not duplicating the Dutch court case, reported last week, concerning the British group that have had their case passed to the ECJ asking for it to confirm that as British nationals living in an EU country they automatically retain their EU citizenship even if, as in this case, there is the possibility that the UK crashes out of the EU?
Thank you for this update Grahame - I greatly value the energy and enthusiasm you are putting into this and am happy to continue to support it #FBP #StopBrexit