Illegal overspend from Vote Leave altered EU referendum, says new report

Illegal overspend from Vote Leave altered EU referendum, says new report

Professor Philip N. Howard studied the digital campaign strategy and practices of Vote Leave and its impact on voter behaviour – using materials disclosed by Facebook to the parliamentary committee investigating “fake news” and publicly available accounts written by campaign insiders.

Howard who is the director of the Oxford Internet Institute provided an expert’s report to the claimants in the UK in EU Challenge judicial review. He concludes that Vote Leave reached tens of millions of people over the last few days of the campaign as a result of Facebook advertising purchased in excess of its statutory spending limit.

Croft Solicitors, which is acting on behalf of the UK in EU Challenge claimants, have now asked the High Court for permission to use the report as evidence at a hearing.

Professor Howard said: “Having studied its digital campaign in line with voter psychology and behaviour, my professional opinion is that it is very likely that the excessive spending by Vote Leave altered the result of the referendum.

“A swing of just 634,751 people would have been enough to secure victory for Remain. Given the scale of the online advertising achieved with the excess spending combined with conservative estimates on voter modelling, I estimate that Vote Leave converted the voting intentions of over 800,000 voters in the final days of the campaign as a result of the overspend.”

Read full story in The New European

‘Corrupt’ Vote Leave campaign undermines Brexit vote, court told

‘Corrupt’ Vote Leave campaign undermines Brexit vote, court told

The “corrupt and illegal practices” of the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum undermine the validity of the decision to leave the EU, the high court has been told.

Relying on findings made by the Electoral Commission about overspending by the pro-Brexit campaign, British people living in Europe have launched a legal case arguing the referendum result should in effect be set aside.

“Breaches of spending rules are serious offences that vitiate the referendum result,” Jessica Simor QC, for the claimants, told the court. “Corruption and illegality in the course of an election or referendum must have a consequence. Corruption and illegal practices undermine the rule of law and democracy.”

There was significant overspending, data breaches and possibly Russian involvement in the referendum, she said. “The electorate can no longer be expected to respect the result.”

See full story in The Guardian

Brexit Opponents Target Referendum Result in Latest Court Case

Brexit Opponents Target Referendum Result in Latest Court Case

A group making a last-ditch attempt to challenge the June 2016 Brexit vote asked a London court to review whether findings that “corrupt and illegal practices” took place during the campaign were enough to invalidate the referendum.

The lawsuit centers on an investigation into Vote Leave by the U.K.’s Electoral Commission. The agency said in July that the campaign breached legal spending limits, and said last month that it had referred payments made by Leave.EU and another pro-Brexit group to the National Crime Agency for investigation.

The Friday court hearing came as lawmakers were in the middle of a five-day debate on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to leave the EU. In addition, the EU’s top court in Luxembourg will rule on Monday whether the country can revoke the Brexit process.

May came under fire at the hearing for “simply soldiering on” with Brexit and ignoring findings that Vote Leave broke election law.

May decided to take the U.K. out of the EU on the grounds that leaving was the will of the people, said Jessica Simor, the lawyer for the group “U.K. in EU Challenge” that filed the lawsuit. Her refusal to act on the findings of the elections watchdog is unlawful, Simor told the court Friday.

Full story in Bloomberg

Brexit: Campaigners seek judicial review of 2016 vote

Brexit: Campaigners seek judicial review of 2016 vote

The UK in EU Challenge group says the result should be quashed because of “misconduct” by pro-Leave campaigners.

Mr Justice Ouseley’s decision is expected on either Monday or Tuesday.

An earlier attempt to challenge the result was rejected on the grounds that it had not been proven that any wrongdoing affected the vote’s outcome.

The case is being brought against the government by four British citizens living on the European continent, Susan Wilson, Elinore Gayson, Carole-Anne Richards and John Shaw.

They say the Article 50 process, by which the UK is leaving the EU, should be halted due to breaches of spending limits and other irregularities by leave-supporting groups during the referendum.

Lawyers for the group say the infractions, which resulted in Vote Leave and Leave.EU being fined £61,000 and £70,000 respectively by the Electoral Commission earlier this year, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the result under the terms of the 1983 Representation of The People Act.

‘Proven illegalities’

Speaking after the hearing, Susan Wilson said she was hopeful of success.

“We also maintain our firm belief that the referendum result cannot be considered the ‘will of the people’,” she said.

“The Leave campaign’s fraudulent behaviour has been proven by the Electoral Commission and we are continually frustrated that the government fails to acknowledge the impact of this illegality and continues to defend its position.”

Read full story on the BBC website

Brexit Legality Challenged: Susan Wilson v. The Prime Minister

Brexit Legality Challenged: Susan Wilson v. The Prime Minister

For the last three months, as lead claimant versus the Prime Minister, I have been living and breathing the UK in EU legal challenge. I have learnt some new terminology and spent hours reading documents which might as well have been written in Swahili. Mostly, I been doing a lot of waiting, and then some more. The premise of our case against the Prime Minister is this – we are asking the High Court to find on two issues that could fundamentally alter the Brexit process:

  • To declare the Referendum result invalid due to the Leave campaign’s proven disregard for spending rules.
  • To subsequently find that the basis for Theresa May’s decision to trigger Article 50 is unreliable because of this wrongdoing. To argue that the referendum produced a small majority in favour of leaving is an irrational basis for such a momentous and far-reaching decision.


The Government has responded to our challenge. Its arguments contend that our claim was out of time, having not been submitted within a set timescale following either the referendum itself, or the triggering of Article 50.

We argue that we are within time as the Electoral Commission’s findings that Vote Leave broke the law have only recently been published.

All legal arguments/documents from both sides are available on our website:

Our challenge hit a stumbling block when the High Court refused permission for a substantive hearing. However, the swift action of our legal team meant a “Notice of Renewal” was submitted within 7 days and an oral permission hearing was secured.

Read full article in Impakter

Why Britons in Spain need to fight for another Brexit referendum

Why Britons in Spain need to fight for another Brexit referendum

There is an unfortunate but prevalent stereotype that British migrants in Spain are all pensioners who laze around, sunning it on the coast.

They lie on their loungers, maybe occasionally skipping off for a round of golf or a game of bridge with their retired friends, all the while refusing to learn the language or mingle with locals. If they want to make a concession to Spanish culture, they might swap gin and tonics for a jug of sangria every now and then.

Not only is that image unfortunate, it is untrue. Around three-quarters of British migrants in Spain are members of younger, working families who are taking advantage of the opportunities the European Union offers them.

The pattern is similar across the EU27 – 80% of Brits in these countries are young people who are greatly appreciative of how they have been welcomed with open arms.



Read full story in El Pais