NEWS
27/09/2019 10:29 BST | Updated 27/09/2019 11:18 BST

BBC Question Time: Gina Miller Clashes With Tory James Cleverly Over Prorogation Case

'I’ve been a campaigner for 30 years. I have been doing this for a very long time.'

Gina Miller clashed with Tory chairman James Cleverly on BBC Question Time on Thursday evening, accusing him of lying to the audience.

During a segment about the Supreme Court ruling this week, which saw justices declare that Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful, Cleverly said: “We absolutely respect the judgement they made but, as I say, I disagree with it, the prime minister disagrees with it, the Lord Chief Justice disagreed with it.” 

“He didn’t disagree with it,” Miller said, “No he didn’t. Stop saying that, that’s not true. That’s not true James. 

“The three court judges in the High Court did not discuss the case, what they said was that they couldn’t get over the justiciability barrier therefore referred it up to the High Court. 

“They said it had merit, and referred it up the the Supreme Court, so they never actually discussed the case and said it wasn’t a case worth discussing. That’s really important.” 

The pair also clashed over questions surrounding the UK’s government’s approach to securing new international trade deals after Brexit, however partially agreed over the use of extreme language in the House of Commons.

Miller said she had been left “in total horror and disgust” as she watched the return of parliament on Wednesday, and said Johnson could have “set the tone” by apologising for the prorogation. 

 

SIPA USA/PA Images
Gina Miller speaking outside The Supreme Court on Wednesday following the ruling that prorogation was unlawful. 

Cleverly said he agreed with some, but not all of what Miller had stated, adding: “It is uncomfortable seeing how very divisive politics has become.

“It’s not good, and we do need to resolve it.” 

Miller was also taken to task by the audience over her involvement in court cases related to thee legality of the Brexit process. 

She formed part of the team who took the government to the Supreme Court, where judges deemed that the prime minister’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful and void. 

Miller had previously won a High Court case in November 2016, in which judges ruled that the government could not invoke Article 50, the official start of the withdrawal, without seeking approval from parliament. 

In response to a question posed by an audience member, who asked why MPs hadn’t acted on the will of the 17.4m people who voted for Brexit, Miller set out the ways in which MPs had pushed forward legislation to allow the UK to exit the EU. 

She said: “MPs voted to trigger Article 50, they then voted to pass the Withdrawal Act – there is a Withdrawal Act in place in 2018 – so they’ve actually passed three bits of legislation to enact the referendum and they’re now having to go towards the last bit of this. 

“I don’t understand, you have to look at what they’ve been trying to do.”

She added: “The idea that MPs are trying to frustrate –” before being cut off by members of the audience who called out “they are”, with the questioner adding “and you’re not helping!” 

Miller has become a controversial figure in recent years, with many pro-Brexit supporters accusing her of seeking to overturn the referendum – a campaign which has led to her being forced to employ 24-hour security. 

She replied: “That is your opinion, but I thought we were going to bring everything back to our laws and our courts and they were going to be thee ones who decided?” 

Dissatisfied with the response, the audience member continued by saying that the vote to leave should have been “end of sports”, and accused Miller of “stopping us doing it [Brexit]”. 

She responded: “No I haven’t, I’ve made sure it’s legal. Under Article 50, it it doesn’t comply with our constitutional requirements we will actually be contravening international law. 

“I’ve been a campaigner for 30 years, I have been doing this for a very long time, keeping tabs on what’s going on. This is not just overnight.” 

Another audience member interjected and asked Miller if she would have done the same if the government had been pro-remain. 

“Yes,” she replied, “I was doing this 10 years ago. I’ve been doing it the whole time.”