Brexit: Gina Miller accuses Government of playing 'X Factor' politics with Supreme Court case

Exclusive: Ms Miller is calling for a ‘considered’ approach to reporting the legal challenge

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Saturday 10 December 2016 14:01
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Campaigner Gina Miller
Campaigner Gina Miller

Gina Miller has slammed the Government for playing X Factor politics with the critical Brexit legal challenge going through the Supreme Court.

Ms Miller, the philanthropist who brought the case, said a news report about how the Government was predicting a less-impressive-than-expected win for her side showed ministers were treating the crucial decision with as much seriousness as if it were being taken by judges on the Saturday night TV show.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent, she said the news report showed Brexiteers had accepted they would lose and were now trying to put a favourable “spin” on defeat.

She said the report – which appeared in The Daily Telegraph with details of the Supreme Court judges’ backgrounds – represented a “veiled threat” against the judiciary as they determine legal points crucial to the UK’s future.

Ms Miller said: “What was really fantastic about the past week in court was how considered the coverage was. It really highlighted as we move forward on everything to do with Brexit, how things should be conducted, with the tone we have seen.

“But then what happens? This huge spin story comes up and we’ve already lost all that sobriety.

“This is not The X Factor. This is so serious. The judges are going to take their time, they are going to make a considered judgement.”

Gina Miller gives statement after High Court rules triggering article 50 must go through parliament

Ms Miller headed a group of campaigners who took the Government to the High Court to challenge Theresa May’s claim that she could unilaterally trigger Article 50, launching the Brexit process without a vote in Parliament.

After she won the case, forcing Ms May to give MPs a vote, the Government appealed to the Supreme Court where 11 judges took evidence this week. They are expected to give a verdict next month.

But with deliberations ongoing, a Daily Telegraph report quoted an anonymous government source suggesting the Supreme Court’s decision will be much closer than previously thought.

While the anonymous source conceded Ms Miller may win – meaning the Prime Minister must bring forward legislation for MPs to vote on – the piece then argued a narrow Supreme Court victory would mean MPs have less justification to amend Ms May’s legislation.

The piece also carried a list of the Supreme Court’s judges, setting out their backgrounds and links some have with the EU.

Ms Miller said: "It’s pure spin. The message of the article is this: yes, we the Government are going to lose, but beware judges, those of you who might be on the other side, those who might have an EU connection. There’s a slight warning to them, there’s a veiled threat there, which impinges on their independence.

“The whole idea is that this is not about politics. But they have already started spinning it that way.”

She said it would be “fruitless” to speculate on the outcome of the case as there were so many nuanced issues involved.

But she added: “If they already think they are going to lose, perhaps what they should be doing is spending their time drafting the bill they need to then proceed with.”

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