Brexit: Government refuses to reveal cost of its Brexit legal battles to taxpayer

Exclusive: Department for Exiting European Union refusing to reveal how much May’s legal battles over Brexit have cost the public purse

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Indy Politics

The Government is refusing to reveal how much money has been spent on lawyers to fight Theresa May’s two failed Brexit legal challenges.

The Supreme Court today ruled against the Prime Minister and dismissed her appeal, siding with claimant Gina Miller who argued MPs alone can trigger Article 50. The case was the second failed attempt by Ms May to advance her Brexit plans, which were also defeated in a High Court case in November.

The Department's refusal to reveal the legal bill for government lawyers who represented Ms May’s case will fuel concerns that her decision to fight the court cases has been a waste of public funds.

Under Freedom of Information rules, government departments are required to release information publicly about their finances. However, the Department for Exiting the European Union, which is responsible for enacting Brexit, has refused a formal request under these rules submitted by The Independent.

The Department stated two months ago that this was because figure would be announced  in due course by Minister David Davis, however they refused to specify a timetable for such an announcement and no announcement has been forthcoming.

The Supreme Court is to shortly announce its verdict on whether Ms May has sufficient authority to trigger Article 50, or if she requires approval from MPs. The case originally began in the High Court, after being brought by banker Gina Miller and a crowd-funded cohort known as the Peoples’ Challenge. 

Government lawyers failed in the High Court case, whereupon they made the decision to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, resulting in further legal proceedings. The decision to appeal the case was criticised at the time amid concerns the action was futile and was a waste of public funds.

A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union did not respond when approached for comment by The Independent.