Brexit ruling: Gina Miller attacks 'despicable' politicians

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Media caption,

Gina Miller was the lead claimant against the government in the Supreme Court

The woman who brought the successful legal challenge against the government over Brexit has accused prominent politicians of behaving "despicably".

Gina Miller told the BBC they had "exacerbated" worries during and after the EU vote and failed to defend her and others with "legitimate concerns" about the process in the face of abuse.

She insists she did not bring her case to thwart the UK's exit from the EU.

But she said some politicians were in "la la land" about what lay in store.

The investment manager was speaking to the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg after the Supreme Court upheld her challenge to the government's approach.

By a margin of eight to three, the justices ruled that Parliament must give its consent before Theresa May can start official talks on the terms of the UK's exit.

'Right and wrong'

Ministers say it was right for the court to decide and they will comply with the ruling.

Mrs Miller, who voted to remain in the EU, said she felt vindicated but that her goal all along had been to give a voice to the millions of people with a stake in the process and help deliver "the best Brexit we can get".

"This is about right and wrong, it's wrong that a government think they are above the law. It's right that I can bring this case," she said.

The 51-year old, who was born in Guyana but educated in Britain, suggested the EU referendum had created a climate of fear in which anyone asking questions about Brexit was seen as unpatriotic and "branded as traitors".

"There's this sense that if you ask a question about Brexit then you're not representing Britain," she said. "Asking questions about Brexit is the most patriotic thing you can do."

She added: "People voted because of legitimate concerns. Politicians have behaved despicably because they have exacerbated those anxieties."

'Speaking out'

Asked if Theresa May and her ministers had behaved "despicably", Ms Miller said it was "wrong of them not to stand up earlier when the judges were being vilified".

"I think it was wrong of them to not actually speak up sooner about abuse for not just myself but for other people who live in the UK."

Mrs Miller, who says she has been subjected to constant abuse including death threats, said she felt her "family and safety have been put in jeopardy".

"The idea that as a woman I had no right to speak out and I'm not bright enough to speak out. And as an ethnic woman I have no place in society. That's worrying."

She said she was still concerned that politicians were "twisting the truth" when it came to the UK's future outside the EU and Mrs May and her ministers needed to "be honest" with the public about what was achievable from the negotiations.

"Even now, some of the things I hear about what is possible, as we progress Brexit, it's as though they are living in some sort of la la land because it's pure fantasy."

She added: "There are 27 other member states on the other side of the table who are not just going to give us what we want. They are not going to give us cherry picking".