When the government tried to trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval, she fought it all the way to the Supreme Court—and won. She tells Prospect that she's not done yetby Alex Dean / July 5, 2017 / Leave a comment
Thanks to the EU referendum last year, tensions in British politics are running higher than at any time in living memory. The campaign pitted young against old, metropolitan voters against rural ones, those with degrees against those without—the list goes on. We are a country divided, and as the European question exposed the depth of that division, it tipped over into something more sinister. Campaigners on each side accused those on the other of stupidity, scaremongering, and, in one of the most memorable political phrases of 2016, “subverting the will of the British people.”
Gina Miller, who took the government to court over the triggering of Article 50 last year, was the target of this last criticism, made by Attorney General Jeremy Wright. Such remarks are unlikely to deter her in her mission to hold the government to account during the Brexit process. “I refuse to be bullied,” the 52-year-old told me at Prospect’s Westminster offices recently. As our conversation continued, and we discussed her recent tactical voting initiative as well as her plans for the future, I realised just how much she meant it.
Miller, who makes her living as an investment manager in the City, challenged the government last year when it claimed to have the right to start Britain’s exit from the EU without approval from parliament. She won at the High Court—resulting in the now-infamous “Enemies of the People” headline in the Daily Mail—and then, after a government appeal, at the Supreme Court. As the case—so significant that it is already being taught to undergraduates—unfolded, the eurosceptic press launched vitriolic attacks on her, alleging that she was undermining the Brexit vote.
The Daily Mail ran pieces on her with titles like “What’s the truth about Gina Miller?” asking whether she was a “shameless self-publicist.” The Sun branded her the “Chief Wrexiteer.” And it wasn’t just the press; Rhodri Philipps, 4th Viscount St Davids, stands accused of offering £5,000 to anyone who would run Miller over with a car. She also claims to have received torrents of racially-charged abuse online: she was born in Guyana.
The newspapers “tried to ransack every part of my life,” Miller explained, visibly distressed at the memory. “They thought that if they could destroy me, I would drop the case and back down.” The pressure was so intense that early on, two…