Gina Miller: the campaigner who took on the British government twice – and won
The businesswoman has received hundreds of death threats for her relentless campaigning on Brexit
There was a tense atmosphere in Westminster on Tuesday, after the UK’s highest court ruled that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful, in what was a humiliating blow for the British prime minister.
Judges said it was wrong to prevent MPs from carrying out their duties in the run up to the October 31 Brexit deadline.
In the case held at London’s Supreme Court, 11 justices voted unanimously in favour of the suspension - or prorogation - being unlawful, nullifying Mr Johnson’s decision and allowing MPs to return to parliament on Wednesday. Since then, the British leader has received renewed calls from MPs to resign.
The ruling came after a three-day hearing at the Supreme Court last week which dealt with two appeals - one from campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller, the second from the government.
But Tuesday’s verdict wasn’t the first time Mrs Miller, 54, had successfully won a court case in relation to Brexit. She has twice led significant legal challenges against the government and come out on top.
Her first major victory came in September 2017, when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of giving MPs a say over trigger Article 50 – the legal mechanism taking Britain out of the EU. She argued that the British government couldn’t initiate the withdrawal without an act of parliament permitting the government to do so.
Mrs Miller was born British Guiana in 1965 to Savitri and Doodnauth Singh, who later became the Attorney General of Guyana.
She later went to study law in the Polytechnic of East London, now University of East London, but quit after being viciously attacked in the street by fellow students. She later went on to get a degree in marketing and MSc in human resource management at the University of London.
Mrs Miller went on to working in marketing and events, before going into investment and financial services. She has been voted as Powerlist’s "UK's most influential black person" which recognises those of African and African Caribbean heritage.
The campaigner has had to show strength and resilience throughout her life. As well as being attacked when she studied at law school, she has received hundreds of death threats as a result of both court decisions relating to Brexit.
In July this year, Rhodri Philipps, the fourth Viscount St Davids, was jailed for 12 weeks for directing “extreme racial abuse” at her and offering money for anyone who would run over and killer Mrs Miller, subsequently leading her to have 24-hour security on her home.
She now heads online wealth manager SCM Direct and the True and Fair Foundation charity, which was founded in 2009.
Mrs Miller continues to campaign on Brexit today. The strength and scope of Tuesday’s ruling hasn’t gone unnoticed in Westminster and although Mr Johnson called it “an unusual judgement”, he said he would respect the verdict.
Updated: September 25, 2019 06:03 PM