Gina Miller threatens second court case against UK government
(BRUSSELS) - Gina Miller came to the European Parliament Wednesday, threatening to take the British government to court for a second time if it tried to bypass Parliament following its Brexit negotiations with the EU.
In an interview before an International Women's Day seminar at the Parliament, Ms Miller, British business owner and Founder of the True and Fair Campaign in the UK, said if prime minister Theresa May did not return the result of Brexit negotiations to Parliament, she would not hesitate to take the government to court again.
Her first court appearance had been over Mrs May's use of the UK's 'royal prerogative' - "a really ancient 400 year-old right that used to be used by kings" - to begin the process of withdrawal from the European Union by triggering Article 50 of the EU Treaty.
Her victory in court - arguing that only Parliament can take away rights - and subsequently at the Supreme Court, won her praise and opprobrium in equal measure.
"When we trigger Article 50 to leave the EU, there is a huge raft of rights that will be taken away, including the four freedoms," she says. So how can the prime minister do that without Parliament?"
Two government defeats at the House of Lords have supported her argument. The first amendment to the Article 50 bill confirmed the rights of EU citizens in the UK who are already living there. The second underlined the need for a substantial parliamentary vote in 18 months' time before the resulting negotiated package is handed over to the EU for ratification.
"A political promise means nothing," says Ms Miller. "Parliament has to either discuss all the options or Mrs May has to go back to the negotiating table."
"If we end up with no deal, and fall back on WTO options, that pushes the UK back as a country, and as an economy back by goodness knows how many years. Such an important decision cannot be taken by just the prime minister and a handful of her executives," Ms Miller added, "otherwise we will be turning into America, where the prime minister can just sign executive orders and decide anything."
"If they don't go back to Parliament, and decide to bypass Parliament," Ms Miller promises, "I will take them back to court."
Ms Miller believes that one of the best options would be to seek either to lengthen the two years of talks, or to seek transitional arrangements. However, she does not believe that the UK government has "a proper plan on ow we leave".
Ms Miller spoke strongly against what she described as bullying from the government, instilling fear in the public.
The current mood in the country means that people are afraid to speak up: "You can't be an expert, you can't be an academic, you can't be someone with expertise, you are straight away shot down, as being against Britain, or against the will of the people."
Ms Miller's life has been turned upside down by the case. She describes being under police protection, with panic buttons in her home, and not being able to go out.
"But it is worth it," she says. She says she will will continue to fight for the future of her country and her children's future.
"I have always been like this. If nobody else will step up and fight, then I will step up and fight."
From European Parliament interview