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09 July 2019

Disenfranchised, disrespected and discriminated against EU27 citizens take a stand

2 mins

EU citizens’ rights group the3million have instructed Bindmans to press ahead with a legal challenge to hold the UK government to account for denying EU citizens across the country their vote in the European Elections in May 2019. 

Their decision was driven by the government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry despite several successful petitions that between them gathered over 150,000 signatures. the3million researched and analysed well over 900 individual cases of citizens who were denied their vote and concluded that there was clear responsibility on the side of the government.  

The grassroots organisation used their findings to get advice from barristers Dinah Rose QC, Anneli Howard and Gayatri Sarathy along with Bindmans’ John Halford. It now needs to raise at least £65,000 in order to issue the claim later this month. 

The disenfranchisement of EU nationals resident in the UK that occurred during the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections is open to challenge on a number of bases. the3million will seek judicial review against the Government (specifically, the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office) for breaches of rights under EU law, the European Convention of Human Rights (‘ECHR’) and UK domestic discrimination law.

This claim will seek to show that the Government introduced and maintained an inadequate system that led directly to large-scale illegality and unfairness. This was compounded by the Government’s ambivalence about the UK’s participation in the elections, which resulted in further disenfranchisement of EU nationals resident in the UK.

Whether the UK leaves or remains in the EU, the case is an important one. The widespread, systemic nature of the disenfranchisement of tax-paying EU nationals here in the UK is very clear. Had it occurred abroad, the Government would be the first to condemn it as an affront to democracy. That makes the Government’s evasion and excuse-mongering hard to take. the3million will give the Government one final opportunity to take responsibility in a pre action letter to be published shortly, failing which they will ask the Court to make a clear, principled ruling on that issue.

The3million are fundraising for the legal challenge through CrowdJustice. To support them, please click here.

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