Home » Politics » David Davis admits to secretly agreeing with Gina Miller while Brexit Secretary
David Davis admits to secretly agreeing with Gina Miller while Brexit Secretary
April 15, 2021
Brexit: Gina Miller warns EU could take ‘legal action’ against UK
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Ms Miller, a businesswoman and campaigner, sparked anger and outrage when she took legal action against Theresa May’s decision to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Despite the result of the EU referendum, Ms Miller believed the Government needed the consent of Parliament before it could trigger the mechanism that would formally start the two-year countdown to leaving the EU.
The cases ended up in the Supreme Court in 2017, with judges agreeing a vote in parliament was required before starting the process to leave the EU.
Ms Miller was accused at the time of trying to use the legal system to block Brexit.
Four years on from the conclusion of the historic legal challenge, Mr Davis has admitted while he was in government he quietly supported Ms Miller.
“On the issue of Brexit I often met with those who fundamentally disagreed with me, such as Gina Miller,” he told the Good Law Project’s annual report.
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“Of course, I could not say this at the time due to my position as Secretary of State, but I actually agreed with Gina Miller bringing her Article 50 case against the Government.”
Ministerial rules mean members of the Cabinet are banned from publicly disagreeing with the Government and must resign if they wish to speak out.
Mr Davis added: “Diversity of opinion is a fundamental characteristic of democracies.
“Throughout my political career and on the various campaigns I have led, I have benefitted from working on a cross-party basis.”
The court case led to Ms Miller receiving widespread abuse.
However, she has always denied her legal battle was ever an attempt to stop the UK from quitting the trade bloc.
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She said: “It’s important to remember that, for me, bringing the case was never about Brexit but, rather, about ensuring the executive could not gainsay the legislative and that Parliament’s constitutional and democrat rights to scrutinise, debate and decide, on behalf of the constituents that individual MPs represent, could never be steamrollered over by any sitting Government.
“That was a vitally important principle to protect. And one we did, with great clarity and effectiveness.
“And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Ms Miller’s court case was ultimately responsible for the downfall of Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Following the 2016 legal challenge, Ms May pledged to give MPs a vote on the deal she reached with the EU.
The deal failed to garner support from MPs on multiple votes in the Commons after Brexiteers refused to back the treaty, describing it as “surrender” to Brussels.
Her agreement included the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, which critics warned would leave the province within the EU.
Failure to gather support for the deal as required under the court ruling in Ms Miller’s legal challenge led to Ms May being ousted from No10 and Mr Johnson appointed Prime Minister.