Woman holds a sign reading Can't Smile Without EU

Brexit’s Latest Challenge: Campaign To Fund Pro-European MPs In U.K. Election 2017

Gina Miller has raised significant funds in support of pro-Europe MPs for the upcoming U.K. election in her latest attempt to disrupt Brexit. Her efforts will help fund the election campaigns of candidates that support Britain’s continuing membership of the EU in the hope that their voices can prevent a so-called hard Brexit.

The Brexit campaigner, who has already successfully challenged Brexit in the Supreme Court, has said her latest effort is designed to stop U.K. citizens from being “forced into an extreme Brexit.”

“We shall work tirelessly to support candidates who want what’s Best for Britain and believe in principles over politics.”

Gina Miller smiles at the camera
Gina Miller [Image by Leon Neal/Getty Images]

Latest Brexit Disruption Focusses On U.K. Election

Up to 100 marginal seats could see an injection of funds from this crowdfunded election campaign led by the wealthy businesswoman. Miller has exceeded her £300,000 goal through her appeal within eight days of launching it, even though donors are limited to giving less than £499 each under election donor rules.

Many donors have given as little as £10, which shows the number of people who have shown their support for Miller’s potentially election-altering efforts.

The fundraising group has paired with Strategic Voting Canada in order to better facilitate the useful distribution of these funds to pro-Europe candidates in the U.K. election. Miller has called the Canadian group “one of the most successful tactical voting campaigners” in the world, and working with them reflects the seriousness of her efforts.

In order to facilitate the “biggest tactical voting effort in our history,” Miller has acknowledged that there may be other ways to better distribute some of the funds. On her crowdfunding page, she spoke about using funds “strategically” in order to have a maximum impact on the latest U.K. election.

“Some comments from donors have suggested that we put some [funds] towards getting people registered to vote. Be assured this will be one of our aims.”

Miller Wishes Best For Britain In Brexit And Election

The crowdfunded campaign to disrupt this election has been named Best for Britain. This is part of the growing list of vague slogans and campaign names that have adorned both the Brexit and U.K. election campaigns. The most widely derided has surely being Theresa May’s “Brexit means Brexit” pledge, but it certainly isn’t alone in being said often put telling us little.

Miller’s anti-Brexit fundraising effort attempts to offer more than some of the other non-committal slogans have. In an interview with The Guardian, she promised that her efforts would be driven by “polling and the data we get back” and not any particular party political allegiance.

That said, it is likely that the majority of the funds will be dispersed to pro-Europe Labour candidates and the Liberal Democrats, who have branded themselves as the anti-Brexit party ahead of the election.

Tim Farron speaks to a campaign crowd in front of campaign placards
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron [Image by Leon Neal/Getty Images]

Regardless of which party benefits most from the campaign’s funds, Miller is careful to point discussions back towards a central goal of supporting tactical voting.

“People are worried about the future direction of this country, they believe in parliamentary democracy and they believe, as do we, that only tactical voting in this election can ensure that parliament plays their full part in the future of this country.”

Now the Brexit vote has long since passed, many opponents of Brexit are showing their latest support for the EU by heading to Miller’s anti-Brexit crowdfunding campaign page and donating. In doing so, they join the call from prominent politicians, such as the Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, to engage in tactical voting or a “progressive alliance.

There has already been action by voters in this direction. Anti-Tory tactical voting methods have been circulated enthusiastically on social media since the election announcement. Open Britain, which emerged out of the pro-remain Brexit campaign, has also drawn up an “attack list” of 20 possible Conservative seats that could be won by other parties.

Best for Britain’s efforts take these actions a step further, actively funding the campaigns of pro-Europe candidates.

Money matters in election campaigns. For those candidates who will benefit from these publically-sourced funds, Miller’s efforts may have an even greater effect on the election than all the other anti-Tory, anti-Brexit sentiment.

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker stands in front of no. 10 Downing Street
Theresa May begins Brexit talks with Jean-Claude Juncker [Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]

Whether the donors have come only from the so-called 48 percent, those who voted to remain in 2016’s Brexit vote, or from those who voted to leave is purely academic. What’s clear is that there is a strong groundswell of support for action that counters the Prime Minister’s Brexit goals and potentially weakens her hand in both this election and the negotiations with the EU.

The latest Brexit twists and turns could yet play a pivotal role in how the public votes in the U.K. election on June 8. In turn, this could well determine the future of the U.K.’s relationship with Europe.

[Featured Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Comments