The election result was a brutal and salutary lesson for everybody who values the rights and benefits we have accumulated over the past 40 years, together with the moves in the last few months towards a system of democracy where Parliament has the powers to hold the government to account and to ensure, with individuals and the judiciary, that the government obeys the rule of law.
The Queen’s Speech and much of what is coming from the Government shows that we were right to be concerned about Boris Johnson’s plans to rebalance power between government, parliament and the judiciary. Let’s not forget that these are the “three legs” of the UK’s system of democracy, admired and much-imitated throughout the world.
It appears that this “rebalancing” will reduce parliament’s ability to supervise and hold to account the government, as well as reducing the right of individuals to challenge the government’s actions via the courts.
Although the fight to keep the UK in the EU looks to be lost, the fight to preserve the fundamental rights conferred on UK citizens by EU membership, and to protect Parliamentary sovereignty, is about to begin again.
The Withdrawal Agreement only provides partial protection for UK citizens in EU27 states, to a lesser extent for UK citizens working cross-border into EU27 countries, and for UK citizens resident in the UK, no protection at all.
We don’t yet know whether these limited protections will carry on for even the lifetime of this government.
A lot depends on your status – retired, student, working, resident with dependant family or somebody who is potentially dependant on their family, do you work cross-border or as a posted worker?
Then there are those of you who own property or a business in the EU27 but aren’t resident there. Those of you who reside in an EU27 state, with qualifying working years in other EU27 states but not the one where you currently reside.
Not forgetting UK citizens living in the EU27 who have a non-UK spouse or children. If you decide to return to the UK, will your spouse/children be allowed to return with you?
There are so many more very diverse examples…
Many of the rights and procedures are still ill-defined, not forgetting that a No-Deal exit on 31st Dec 2020 looks increasingly likely in the wake of the election. If that happens, then how much more will be back in the melting pot?
There are compelling arguments to say that those UK citizens who have exercised their EU citizenship rights in some significant manner, not just those who happen to reside in an EU27 state currently, should be granted those rights on a continuing basis after Brexit.
There are also attractive arguments about other UK citizens being able to retain some sort of “associate” EU citizenship.
This is a far more complicated question. It requires co-operation between the UK and the EU on practical matters such as health care and pensions. It also requires political will and reciprocity of rights. In the past, the Govt. has rejected such a status, refusing to countenance EU membership “by stealth”.
We at https://ThePeoplesChallenge.org/ will be taking a little time to assess what all this means, including what has been written into and out of the revised Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Whatever happens, we will be back to campaign and hold the UK Government and the EU27 to account to protect UK citizens’ fundamental citizenship rights, the only limiting factor will be, as it was in 2016, the money needed to brief and engage the legal expertise required to win these arguments.
In 2016 we mitigated the cost of fighting our corner by recruiting legal professionals at a substantial discount to the rates charged by the government’s lawyers. This time we will have to go even further and be more forensic and detailed in the briefs we prepare for the lawyers we need to engage in the UK and the EU27 states.
We greatly value your support. Many of you have been with us for a good while and have donated not just once but multiple times. We thank you all for it, and we do know that there are practical limits to what people can contribute.
Whether you can donate right now or not (if you can, please click on the image above to do so), please spread the word among your contacts and on social media. Have you got a fiver you could spare for us? Could you spare us a fiver next month, the month after…?
Our ability to continue this work teeters on a knife edge – limited, but of course very welcome, funding from our GoFundMe crowdfunder, barely enables us to continue and relies on the directors covering the shortfall.
This is how we are funded, we receive nothing from the big campaign groups, business, philanthropic bodies, political parties…
We follow matters as they develop. They’re always volatile, and in these times of Brexit extensions and the hiatus of a General Election it means that days’ or weeks’ worth of work has to be set aside or even lost completely as the situation changes.
Our aim is to help people to see what’s going on, to understand what they are (or aren’t) being told, and to decide what’s best for our country: what’s really in the national interest, what protects fundamental citizenship rights and ensures that Parliament and not the executive (the government) is sovereign.
To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support The People’s Challenge, so we can continue to help make your voice heard.
There’s still a way to go (despite the repeated ”fixed” deadlines) and there are no guarantees about the outcome. The only thing that’s certain is that if we stop trying, we will fail.
As we all know, without organisers there can be no effective campaign, without a client there can be no legal/judicial challenge.
Please share this article as widely as you can, and thank you again for your support.
Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.