British expats in EU launch Brexit legal dispute

British expats living in Spain, France and Italy launched a legal challenge against the 2016 referendum, arguing Leave campaign broke electoral laws, therefore making the Brexit vote unconstitutional.

The legal challenge was put in motion by the pro-EU advocacy group UK in EU Challenge, which submitted a judicial review against Prime Minister Theresa May to the high court in London.

“Recent revelations show beyond reasonable doubt that the Leave campaign cheated in Brexit referendum,” the group said in a statement on its website, adding the Electoral Commission found “beyond reasonable doubt” that Vote Leave, the official campaign, cheated on its spending limit by almost £700,000 (6%).

“In a general election, local authority election or local authority referendum the courts can declare the vote null and void if there has been cheating of exactly this type,” it added.

The case presented by Croft Solicitors – the legal team representing the four British expats in question – argues Theresa May’s decision to trigger Article 50 was not in line with the UK’s “constitutional requirements”.

One of the four named claimants is Elinore Grayson, a British expat living in France.

“It is fundamental that illegal intervention in British elections does not go unchecked,” she told The Guardian

The group added that May needs to act on the recent findings that found the Leave campaign and its sister organizations had breached electoral laws and proposed a second referendum with rules more strictly enforced.

“This isn’t about ‘leave’ or ‘remain’. It’s about rights, fairness and democracy.”

Last month, the official Leave campaign and its junior partner, BeLeave, were fined by the Electoral Commission after it was discovered they had broken spending regulations of the electoral law. A number of individuals working for these organizations were referred to the police.

The British government is resisting the group’s legal action on the grounds that it is “out of time” and that a similar appeal has already been dismissed.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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