Miller in 2018
Gina Nadira Singh
19 April 1965
|Education||Moira House Girls School|
|Known for||challenging the UK government's assumption of the right to invoke Article 50 without reference to Parliament, and the prorogation of the UK parliament in 2019.|
Gina Nadira Miller (née Singh; born 19 April 1965) is a Guyanese-British business owner and activist who initiated the 2016 R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union court case against the British government over its authority to implement Brexit without approval from Parliament. In September 2019 she successfully challenged the government's prorogation of Parliament, formally supported in the legal case by the former prime minister Sir John Major and the shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti. She founded the True and Fair Campaign in 2012, calling for an end to financial misconduct in the investment and pension industries. She also founded the True and Fair Foundation.
Miller was born Gina Nadira Singh in British Guiana to Savitri and Doodnauth Singh, who later became Attorney General of Guyana. She is of Indian descent. She grew up in the newly independent Guyana, and was sent to England by her parents at the age of 10 to be educated at the fee-paying private Moira House Girls School in Eastbourne. When she was 14 Guyana introduced strict currency controls that prevented their parents from continuing to send funds for Gina and her brother, so she took a summer job as a chambermaid in an Eastbourne hotel. She studied law at the Polytechnic of East London (now University of East London) but left without completing her finals because her parents wanted her in Guyana. She has written that she was brutally attacked while at law school, that some of her attackers were fellow students, and that the attack caused her to give up her degree course. She gained a degree in marketing, and an MSc in human resource management at the University of London.
She owned a property photographic laboratory in 1987, before becoming a marketing and event manager at BMW Fleet Division in 1990. She started a specialist financial services marketing agency in 1992, and launched the Senate investment conference programme in 1996. She became a marketing consultant in 2006. In February 2009, Miller co-founded the investment firm SCM Private (now SCM Direct) with her husband Alan Miller. She has been a leading campaigner against hidden charges in pensions and investment and what she has described as "flagrant mis-selling within the asset management market". She set up Miller Philanthropy (now rebranded the True and Fair Foundation) in 2009, and established MoneyShe.com in 2014, as a female-focused investment brand.
In October 2017, Miller was named by Powerlist as the "UK's most influential black person" which recognises those of African and African Caribbean heritage. Those nominated were chosen by an independent panel with members including former High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell. They rated nominees on their "ability to change lives and alter events". She was also named number 26 on the list of most influential British Asians by GG2 Power List.
True and Fair Foundation
Miller set up the True and Fair Foundation in 2009, with the stated aim of increasing philanthropy and common good in an era of growing inequality, social fragmentation and small state funding. It aimed to encourage those who have been successful to give back to the communities that afforded them their success, lessening the burden of giving for donors and philanthropists who wish to give smarter and in an efficient and transparent manner but may be time poor. The Foundation was a registered charity under English law and was removed from the register in July 2019.
True and Fair Campaign
In January 2012, she set up the True and Fair Campaign, with the stated aim to "limit the possibility of future mis-selling or financial scandals through greater transparency." This initiative attracted the animosity of part of the City, earning her the nickname of "black widow spider". She reported being called "a disgrace [whose] lobbying efforts would bring down the entire City", and the Daily Mail reported that she had been criticised because her firm SCM had not disclosed the size of the fund it is managing for its clients.
Brexit legal challenge
In June 2016, subsequent to the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, Miller privately engaged the City of London law firm Mishcon de Reya to challenge the authority of the British Government to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union using prerogative powers, arguing that only Parliament can take away rights that Parliament has granted.
On 3 November 2016, the High Court of Justice ruled that Parliament had to legislate before the Government could invoke Article 50. Miller said outside the High Court: "The judgment, I hope – when it's read by the Government and they contemplate the full judgment – that they will make the wise decision of not appealing but pressing forward and having a proper debate in our sovereign Parliament, our mother of parliaments that we are so admired for all over the world".
Miller stated in various interviews that she was pressing on with the legal action as a matter of democracy and parliamentary supremacy but following the case has made clear her opposition to the result of the 2016 EU referendum: "I beg you, as Labour's leader, to reject a policy that will so obviously turn our country into a laboratory for one of the most extreme rightwing experiments we have witnessed since the 1930s." She had claimed to not be a committed Europhile; that her role came about from having legal training, a job in investment management, and "years of campaigning for transparency and accountability".
She claimed concern that experienced, senior politicians appeared not to know that only Parliament can take away from people rights that Parliament had granted, and were instead proposing to trigger withdrawal from the EU without parliamentary authority, by using the royal prerogative, which she described as "an ancient self-serving right that Kings and Queens once used to rid themselves of their enemies". She claimed it was not the idea of Brexit that filled her with dread, but "the idea of an unchallenged, unanswerable government taking us back to 1610 and ripping a hole through our democratic structures".
The Government's appeal to the Supreme Court was heard in December 2016. When closing the hearing, the Court President said that the appeal raised important constitutional issues, and the Justices would take time to give full consideration to the many arguments presented to them, orally and in writing, and they would do their best to resolve the case as quickly as possible. When the Supreme Court delivered judgment in January 2017, it upheld the High Court ruling by a majority of 8–3.
After the government's appeal was dismissed, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU formally introduced in Parliament, on 26 January 2017, a bill that, on 16 March, was enacted without amendment as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.
Abuse and threats
The legal challenge met with a "torrent" of abuse from supporters of Brexit, including racial abuse and death threats. In the two days following the judges' decision, more than 79,000 tweets mentioned her account, of which about 13 per cent were hostile. Many referred to her as a traitor and mentioned her perceived foreignness. Miller's solicitor, Mishcon de Reya, was subjected to abuse as a result of its involvement in the case, and Brexit supporters mounted a protest outside the firm's offices. A man, aged 55, was arrested in November 2016 on suspicion of racially aggravated malicious communications over threats to Miller, but was later told he would not be prosecuted.
Another man, aged 50, was arrested in January 2017, also in relation to the complaint made in November; the second man was later named as Rhodri Philipps, 4th Viscount St Davids, who was charged on 7 March. Philipps, of Knightsbridge, London, described Miller as a "boat jumper" and added: "If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles". Philipps also posted "£5,000 for the first person to 'accidentally' run over this bloody troublesome first generation immigrant" on Facebook. He pleaded "not guilty" to three charges of malicious communication under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 2 May 2017. At the May hearing, the prosecution said the crown would seek an increased sentence because of the racial aggravation factor. He was found guilty of two charges at his trial on 11 July 2017, at which he defended himself. Philipps described his own comments as "satire". He was later sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.
At least eight other people were issued with cease and desist notices by the police. In August 2017, Miller said she had faced continuing threats of acid attacks in recent months, and fears leaving her home.
2017 general election
Miller organised a crowdfunding campaign to back candidates opposed to a 'hard Brexit' in the 2017 general election. As of 21 April 2017, the campaign had raised over £300,000. On 26 April 2017, Miller launched the Best for Britain campaign at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The campaign called for a tactical vote to ensure elected MPs have a real final vote on the Brexit deal. It also encouraged young people to become actively engaged in the Brexit debate. She stated publicly that she personally would vote Liberal Democrat for the first time, having previously been a Labour supporter. She left Best for Britain after the election, describing it as both "a room full of white males deciding what's going to happen to the country" and "undemocratic".
2019 European Parliament election
On 8 May 2019, Miller set up a website, Remain United, to encourage tactical voting in the EU parliamentary election on 23 May, to maximise the number of MEPs of various parties elected who support remaining in the EU.
Prorogation of parliament legal challenge
On 28 August 2019, Miller was one of a number of parties to launch legal proceedings against the Johnson government for prorogation of parliament, claiming to do so was unconstitutional. On 6 September 2019 the High Court ruled that the decision to suspend Parliament was lawful and dismissed her case but granted permission to appeal. A similar case lodged before the Scottish Court of Session found several days later that prorogation was unlawful as it had "the effect of stymying Parliament", setting up a hearing before the Supreme Court for 17 September. On 24 September 2019, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that prorogation was unlawful.
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