Bremain in Spain Chair is lead claimaint in a legal challenge against Theresa May over Brexit

Bremain in Spain Chair, Sue Wilson, outside the Supreme Court.
Bremain in Spain Chair, Sue Wilson, outside the Supreme Court. / SUR
  • Pro-remain groups want the courts to decide that the Leave campaign illegally overspent during the referendum and Article 50 should be void

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, is lead claimant of a group of British citizens living in EU countries which has issued a court challenge against UK Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit.

The claim argues that the illegal conduct of Leave organisations during the 2016 referendum campaign, which is currently the subject of a police investigation for exceeding legal spending limits according to the UK Electoral Commission, should nullify the prime minister's decision to notify the EU of the UK's intention to withdraw from the bloc under Article 50.

"The premise for the legal challenge is that the triggering of Article 50 was not in line with 'constitutional requirements'. Had it been a binding referendum, the result would be declared null and void. It cannot be right that a non-binding referendum on which politicians nevertheless decided to act is not subject to the same scrutiny," Wilson explained to SUR in English on Tuesday.

Other claimants are Elinore Grayson from France, Carole-Anne Richards from Italy and John Shaw, also from France, who represents Fair Deal Forum and intervened successfully in the earlier Gina Miller case.

The government has been given until 31 August to respond to the claim, after which the case will be heard in court. The claimants expect that the case will be appealed by whichever side the initial hearing rules against and go directly to the Supreme Court, which is what happened when anti-Brexit activist, Gina Miller, took the government to court last year over the referendum in a high-profile case.

While Wilson explained to SUR in English that the police investigation is completely separate from this challenge, she said that if the investigation concludes that there was illegal activity on the part of the Leave campaign it will "help" their case "enormously".

The Bremain in Spain Chair admits that "time is of the essence" given that the current date for the UK to leave the EU is 29 March 2019. However, she says she remains hopeful that given the divisions between the Conservative and Labour parties and the lack of a deal after more than two years of negotiations, as well as this challenge and the police investigation, that Brexit "may not happen" as expected at the moment.