Reveals concerns about safety in same week parliament will debate Article 50 bill
The lead claimant in the Brexit legal challenge has revealed the horrifying impact bringing the judicial review has had on her and her family’s lives.
Fifty-one-year-old investment manager Gina Miller spearheaded the legal challenge against the government’s assertion it would trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval.
Though the Supreme Court ruled by a majority of eight to three in the claimants’ favour last week, Miller’s involvement in the case has thrust her into the media spotlight, sometimes unfavourably.
Brexit legal challenge: the Supreme Court has ruled IN FAVOUR of the claimants Gina Miller by majority of 8 to 3 ??
— Legal Cheek (@legalcheek) January 24, 2017
Take the Daily Mail, which has long pedalled a staunch anti-Miller, pro-Brexit stance. Last week, the site ran an article describing her as a “shameless self-publicist” who allegedly made “false claims” about having a law degree.
On the law degree issue, the Daily Mail claimed a statement on the website of Miller’s firm SCM50 said “Gina has three degrees in marketing, human resource management and law.” There are neither screenshots of this in the article nor any record of this in the Google cache. But, the newspaper continues:
In truth, Gina Miller does not have a law degree. She did study for one at the University of East London, but left before sitting her final exams…When asked about the discrepancy, her lawyers told the Mail she was unaware of the false claim prominently displayed on the website and said the responsibility for the mistake lay with a freelance copywriter.
Alongside questions about her education, Miller has been left at the mercy of angry Brexiteers who resent her for bringing the legal battle. Death threats, rape threats and racist abuse against Miller have been an unfortunate feature of the Brexit legal challenge journey. At every stage of the case, the judges involved warned the court against it, but it’s persisted.
Two people have been arrested, eight cease and desist letters have been issued through the Met Police and at least 12 other inquiries are ongoing, so it’s unsurprising this ordeal has had an impact on the businesswoman. Now, in an interview with The Mirror, Miller has revealed just how detrimental this impact has been.
Admitting she is “frightened”, “fearful” and always looking over her shoulder, the mother of two young children said:
We’ve had graphic letters where they’ve taken the time to cut and paste images of me being shot, beheaded, gang raped. They send very long messages on email or through LinkedIn. One person put a £5,000 bounty on my head for me to be run over.
She also recalls receiving a warning that she will be the “next Jo Cox”. A former Labour Party politician, Cox — who regularly campaigned on issues relating to the Syrian civil war — was murdered in June 2016. Clearly concerned by the comparison, Miller continued:
These are genuine threats. These are people who know where my office is and can see me walk in in the morning.
She also told the newspaper that she has installed panic buttons in her home, that she no longer uses public transport and that her children are very concerned about their mother’s safety.
Guyanese-born Miller has lived in the United Kingdom since she was ten and considers it her home. Breaking down in tears during the interview, she confessed the abuse has made her contemplate leaving the country. She said:
That’s the thing that upsets me most, the idea my security could be so at risk that I would have to leave the UK. I don’t want to leave my home, my friends, my family… I don’t want to leave the UK. But the choice would have to be Britain, or my children and my family’s safety.
Miller’s candid interview comes just days before the government is set to debate the Article 50 bill brought about by her legal challenge victory. Just a few lines long, the draft European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 will get its first spell on the House of Commons floor tomorrow.
Read the full bill here:
UPDATE: 1:12pm Monday 30 January
Thanks to an anonymous commenter, we now have a screenshot of Gina Miller’s website law degree claims, thanks to internet archive tool Wayback Machine.
For all the latest news, features, events and jobs, sign up to Legal Cheek’s weekly newsletter here.