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British expats in EU launch Brexit legal challenge

Group says leave campaign broke electoral law, making 2016 vote unconstitutional
British expatriates have launched a fresh legal challenge against the 2016 referendum, arguing that the result has been invalidated by the Electoral Commission’s ruling on leave campaign spending.
The judicial review against the prime minister, Theresa May, has been submitted to the high court in London by the UK in EU Challenge group, which represents Britons living in France, Italy and Spain.
It argues that the recent Electoral Commission findings on BeLeave and Vote Leave – which resulted in two officials being reported to the police and punitive fines being imposed – means that the referendum to leave the EU was not a lawful, fair or free vote.
The government is resisting the action on the grounds that it is out of timeand that a similar challenge has already been dismissed.
Nearly 80% of the estimated 1 to 2 million Britons living overseas in EU countries are of working age or younger. Many fear Brexit will threaten their livelihoods and make it far harder to travel across the continent.
The expatriate claimants are represented by Croft Solicitors, Patrick Green QC and Jessica Simor QC, all of whom acted for successful parties in the article 50 legal case at the supreme court. They maintain the legal claim is not out of time because the Electoral Commission only recently, in July, found that BeLeave spent £675,000, which should have been declared.
Rupert Croft, the managing director Croft Solicitors, said: “Our clients contend that the prime minister’s decision to trigger article 50 and start the Brexit process was based on a factual error, namely that the referendum truly represented the will of the people following a lawful, free and fair vote.
“They argue that the decision to trigger article 50 to withdraw from the EU was therefore not in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements. We look forward to having this important constitutional case considered by the court.”
Elinore Grayson, one of the four named claimants in the action, lives in France. She said: “It is fundamental that illegal intervention in British elections does not go unchecked. The principle of nullity when a decision was made on incorrect or misleading facts is a longstanding one and we wish to ensure that continues to apply at this crucial time.
“Many people across the EU, myself included, are reliant on bestowed rights to live their daily lives; there must be zero tolerance when it comes to cheating, misrepresentation and non-disclosure of information.”
Sue Wilson, who is chair of Bremain in Spain and another of the four claimants, said: “We hope to demonstrate that you cannot win by cheating. If there is another referendum, there must not be a repeat of the illegal activity witnessed last time around.
“We have not taken back control – we have been put in the hands of those that care more about their careers and political party than their country. The UK deserves better, we deserve better, and we will not stop fighting until we succeed.”