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Brexit: British expats living in EU launch High Court bid to have vote overturned

Group says referendum result should be ‘nullified’ after main pro-Brexit campaigns found to have broken law

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 15 August 2018 11:25 BST
What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

British expats living in other EU countries have launched a legal bid to overturn the outcome of the Brexit vote.

The High Court challenge claims the unlawful behaviour of Leave campaigners in the run-up to the 2016 referendum should “nullify the result”.

It has been launched by the UK in EU Challenge group, made up of Britons living in France, Italy and Spain.

They are seeking a judicial review after the two main pro-Brexit campaigns, Vote Leave and Leave.EU, were fined by the Electoral Commission for breaching electoral laws.

Vote Leave was fined £61,000 and reported to the police after being found to have broken spending rules, while Leave.EU was told to pay £70,000 for also failing to properly declare spending.

UK in EU Challenge said: “The rights of the estimated one to two million British nationals who live, work or have other interests in other member states are profoundly affected by Brexit.

“In the event of a ‘no deal’, they will lose their current legal status.

“Even if there is a deal, they risk losing their right to live and work in other EU countries.”

The group said the offences committed by the pro-Brexit groups mean the government’s invoking of Article 50 should be declared void, and the Brexit process reversed.

Their argument will be heard by a High Court judge, who will decide whether there are grounds for a full review.

The group is being represented by lawyers who were previously involved in the successful Supreme Court bid to force the government to give parliament a vote before triggering Article 50.

Rupert Croft, one of the group’s lawyers, 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.”

Sue Wilson, who lives in Spain and is involved in the legal challenge, said: “We hope to demonstrate that you can’t win by cheating.

“If there is another referendum, there mustn’t be a repeat of the illegal activity witnessed last time round.”

She added: “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 won’t stop fighting until we succeed.”

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