Gina Miller giving a speech at the 2018 Liberal Democrats conferenceWIKICOMMONS

Gina Miller sits perched on the side of the Union's coffee table to get closer to us, wearing a sharp two-piece grey suit and holding a glass of red wine in hand. Looking at her, you'd never guess she spent the last 20 minutes stuck in traffic fielding calls from a frantic team – or the last five years facing death threats.

"I was in the middle, getting fired at from all sides"

After successfully challenging the UK government on two constitutional accounts, Miller has become a “household name” across Britain. The first case brought and won by Miller forced the government to give Parliament a vote on Article 50, which triggered the official Brexit process. In her own words, this case – and a later one challenging Johnson's prorogation of Parliament – made clear that “Parliament definitely is sovereign”.

While she’s a beacon of constitutional integrity for many, Miller tells us that the process of taking the government to court was “incredibly lonely” and “really frightening”. She’d expected a show of support in her legal challenge, but tells us instead she experienced a “river of hate”; “the haters were much louder" than those showing solidarity.

“It was such a febrile environment at that time, just after the referendum vote”, she says. “People were really scared to speak up and be supportive. I didn’t even hear from a single MP of any party.” 

The abuse she faced – and continues to face – ranges from abusive messages online to a GoFundMe crowdfunder seeking a hitman to “kill Gina Miller”, labelling her the “traitor of democracy”. 

"They couldn’t have dreamt up a better target"

“I was in the middle, getting fired at from all sides”, she said. The attacks were personal, targeted; “especially as a woman of colour, it wasn’t my space to speak up”. It was assumed, she says, she “couldn’t be bright enough to have [her] own money” and there must have been a group of “very powerful men behind [her], pulling [her] strings”. 

“Everytime the press quoted me,” she says, “they’d call me ‘foreign-born Gina Miller’”. As a black woman accused of “not being British”, she tells us that all the anger in the ‘post-truth’ and ‘populism’ which swept the world in 2016 was directed towards her.  “They couldn’t have dreamt up a better target”, she says. 

When asked how this experience reflects the UK’s current political climate, Miller expresses real concern about the “extremism and hatred that is now seen as acceptable”. Since the Brexit vote, “extremist voices on the fringe have been given the permission and oxygen to be mainstream”, she warns; this has fed into “incredibly irresponsible” rhetoric on the part of politicians that can be “incredibly dangerous in the long-term”. 

“They’re sowing division. No divided country is healthy or sustainable or will grow. What they’re doing is damaging us so that they can stay in power – I think that’s the most immoral thing.”

What about Brexit itself? Is it possible to make a positive case? “It would have been, if there was a plan”, she tells us. “But I think there was so little understanding about how society and business work in the UK […] what we’re doing now is playing catch up, and I don’t think we’ll get to the place where we catch up”. “Ever?” we ask. She smiles wryly and shakes her head. “It’s very difficult to see how”.


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It is precisely for reasons like this that Gina believes "the entire machinery of government needs to be overhauled and updated".

"We're working with a model of government that is 200 years old, and of course it attracts people who only know how to use 200 year old machinery", she tells us. "It's just not fit for purpose”.

When asked what she plans to do about this, she tells us about starting her True and Fair Party: "I want constitutional change, electoral reform, and fighting corruption to be mainstream".

The way Gina speaks to us about True and Fair doesn't come across as someone envisaging Number 10 anytime soon. When this is put to her, she compares herself to Caroline Lucas, before proposing that "it doesn't matter who's in power. It's about what are the checks and balances of whoever is in power. It's not about right and left anymore, it's about right and wrong".

"The entire machinery of government needs to be overhauled and updated"

So, how can our broken politics be overcome? “Leaders need to take responsibility. Leadership is about leading by example” – she tells us forcibly that the bar needs to be set higher in politics, her voice animated by conviction. You can tell by her tone that this is a major driving force behind her work. 

It may not sound like it, but Miller does hold out hope for politics. She tells us she’s been a campaigner for over thirty years, and expresses hope that people can learn campaign organisation and activism like she did. If she had one message for those who want to enact change, it’s to learn from her desired legacy:

“Never give up. Whatever the battle is, I’d much prefer to try and fail than not to have tried at all”.