Appetiser (from Professor bob Watt)
Appetiser (from Professor bob Watt)
I have been informed that during the process of seeking funding to procure independent Counsel opinion, certain members of the public have raised questions as to why this case has not also lodged evidence against the Remain campaign – Stronger In.
As (I’m told) something of a recognised person in the field of electoral law, albeit now semi-retired, I would like to clarify the difference between my personal and professional position, and the circumstances of my involvement with this action.
On a personal level, let me first be clear that yes, I do believe – strongly in fact – that the UK would be better off remaining within the European Union. And yes, that is one of the reasons that I have chosen to invest time into this action.
On a professional and academic level, however, that fact is entirely irrelevant, as I have previously been at pains to clarify. It has no bearing whatsoever as to whether I would offer assistance to appropriately qualified parties or actions if I can, even (perhaps especially) if those parties share a diametrically opposite political viewpoint from my own, providing that their concern was either upholding or improving our law.
Our law is our law. It exists for a purpose, in this case to safeguard the quality and integrity of our democratic process. That’s my overriding concern. I will go further – if we cannot hold blatantly dishonest political campaigns to account, then in my view our political system is worthless. I have spent a significant proportion of my adult life studying the law, and trying to improve it, and therefore I hope you will understand that any idea that the happenstance of my own political views might in some fashion fetter my assistance in a professional capacity I find somewhat of an anathema.
Now to clarify the circumstances of this particular action..
I would therefore like to clarify my willingness, once again, to offer professional (and unpaid) assistance to any such action, subject to certain conditions which are designed purely to eliminate time-wasting:
Prof bob Watt.
At 3.39pm on Saturday 15th April, just over a week after launching, our CrowdJustice campaign successfully completed the £9,900 fundraising sought to procure a fully independent Counsel opinion on the merits of our case.
We have now formally instructed chambers. If the Counsel opinion is supportive, then it will confirm we should proceed with further fundraising required to bring a private prosecution action (the DPP having previously decided not to act).
We would like to offer humble thanks to the 351 backers who form the vanguard of this action, which is being brought in the public interest of safeguarding UK democracy.
The Restoring Integrity Team.
This morning marks one week since we launched our CrowdJustice case, seeking £9,900 to procure the fully independent QC opinion from leading chambers.
Of course it’s not just an “opinion” we are procuring, it is a venerable and learned reading of the law by leading chambers, which will take at least a few weeks. Because of the public interest, they have offered to do this for a fraction of their normal commercial rates and on a capped fees basis, of no more than £7,500+VAT. The rest covers a small fee to the CrowdJustice website.
If we didn’t procure it (and be prepared to accept the answer may not be what we want to hear) then it wouldn’t really be independent, and equally it wouldn’t really carry any sway in getting key legal and constitutional law commentators publicly on side.
We have been overwhelmed by the public response. Without the aid of any press article (this isn’t newsworthy just yet), just through word of mouth and social media, at the time of writing we have attracted over £6,000 in small donations from individuals and a couple of small businesses.
We would like to thank all of the case backers for their generosity, and for supporting this action to fight for the future of UK democracy.
As bob rather succinctly put it yesterday, “if we cannot hold these dishonest people to account, then our political system is worthless”.
** Holding Update 30th March **
Apologies all for the delay. As is the nature of these things unfortunately, we need to get the detail right. Please be assured have been working hard to prepare for this update and believe the case is as valid as ever. We intend to provide a detailed post setting out next steps, if we can within the next 24 – 48 hours.
Our group have now received a reply from the DPP and we will be issuing a full update and public response in the week commencing Monday 13 March 2017.
We would like to thank followers for their continued patience.
Since we launched this reference to the DPP for England and Wales, and now the DPP for Northern Ireland and the Lord Advocate in Scotland, we have received many hundreds of emails. Most of these were welcome and supportive, for which thanks. I have tried to respond to these- many of which made valuable contributions which we will follow up – but inevitably some have slipped through the net. If you have not received a personal reply please take this note as acknowledgement and thanks.
Prof. R. A.Watt; BA, BCL, PhD.
Allegations of Undue Influence by Vote Leave, Scottish Vote Leave and Leave.EU have been formally referred to the Lord Advocate in Scotland by a sub-group of Restoring Integrity complainants having standing in the EU Referendum in Scotland.
These include additional evidence specifically relating to claims made by the Scottish Vote Leave campaign.
The CPS have confirmed this afternoon that allegations have been referred to the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, and that evidence submitted is under review.
Allegations, as submitted to the England and Wales DPP, have been copied to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.
Update: 3rd Nov – DPPNI have confirmed receipt and that the matter is receiving attention.
26th October – news article published on University web site:
*** Update 08/03/2017 – Professor bob Watt is leaving the University of Buckingham. This action now has no further association with the University. ***