Boris Johnson ‘vindictively pursuing’ claimants for legal costs following Brexit ‘lies’, says John McDonnell

Boris Johnson
Mohamed Elmaazi

The current Tory government is demanding legal costs of at least £8,000, after precarious workers and the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) withdrew their claim against UK prime minister Boris Johnson. This followed his u-turn over seeking a Brexit extension. According to the IWGB, “after repeated statements by Johnson that under no circumstances would he seek an extension to 31 October Brexit deadline, the three workers and the… [IWGB] filed proceedings in the High Court to force Johnson to abide by the law and seek an extension”.

Boris Johnson’s costly u-turn

Soon after the workers filed legal proceedings against Johnson to compel him to seek an extension according to the law, the Tory prime minister reversed his position and agreed to seek the extension. As a result there was no need for the IWGB workers to continue with their legal action, and so they withdrew their claim. However, the government is still seeking the legal costs which it has accrued to this point.

We have been “terrified by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit”

Maritza Castillo Calle, one of the workers in the lawsuit, said that “precarious migrant workers” like herself “have been terrified by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit” and the “impact it could have on our most basic rights”. They decided to take legal action “to protect our communities”. And now, because Johnson “lied about his intention to not seek an extension”, the government is demanding that these precarious workers and their grass-roots union “pay thousands of pounds” in legal fees, she said.

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McDonnell: Crowdfunder “goes to the heart of why Boris is unfit to be Prime Minister”

The IWGB has initiated a crowdfunder in order to help protect themselves should they be compelled to pay the costs of the government’s legal fees.

John McDonnell argued that the crowdfunder “goes to the heart of why Boris is unfit to be Prime Minister”. He said that Johnson “lied” and as a result “low paid workers and their union bravely took action to hold him to account”. But following his u-turn, the PM is “now vindictively pursuing them for legal costs”. McDonnell said that “low paid workers standing up for their rights and the rule of law need to be supported, not attacked”.

Feature image via YouTube – Channel 4 News

Get involved

  • The claimants have set an initial target of £8,000 and a stretch target of £25,000 to protect themselves from any additional costs.
  • The link to the crowdfunding appeal launched today by the claimants can be found here.

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