Partners from firms including Linklaters, Slaughter and May and Travers Smith are among more than 1,500 lawyers to have signed an open letter sent to Prime Minister Theresa May calling for a “People’s Vote” on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
Travers senior partner Chris Hale, Slaughters corporate partner Jeff Twentyman and Linklaters capital markets partner Carson Welsh are among the list of signatories to the letter, which was published in The Guardian on Monday.
The letter states: “As members of the legal profession we act for people, businesses and institutions across the length and breadth of the U.K. Our clients and the law are profoundly affected by the terms of the U.K.’s relationship with Europe. We support a People’s Vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations for two main reasons.
“First, democratic government is not frozen in time. Parliamentary sovereignty means that today’s parliament cannot bind tomorrow’s parliament. Nor can yesterday’s referendum bind us today.
“Second, voters are entitled to know what they are voting for. In 2016, the nature of the negotiation process and its outcome were unknown. Voters faced a choice between a known reality and an unknown alternative. In the campaign, untestable claims took the place of facts and reality.”
Many of the lawyers on the list specialize in competition, including Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Stephen Mavroghenis, Dechert partner Alec Burnside, Cooley London partner Becket McGrath and Norton Rose Fulbright partner Ian Giles.
Other lawyers to have put their names to the letter include Linklaters infrastructure partner Ian Andrews, Slaughters tech and outsourcing head Rob Sumroy, Clyde & Co chairman Michael Payton, former Slaughters senior partner Chris Saul, Norton Rose Fulbright partner Paul Stothard and White & Case construction arbitration partner Mark Goodrich.
“I can’t see anything positive for our business. We’ve made a great success of being the gateway to the EU, Stothard told Law.com’s London publication Legal Week. “From a personal perspective, being married to an EU national with three British kids who has already been refused a British passport without reasons or right to repeal, we’ve felt first-hand the effect of this ugly new post-Brexit Britain.”
The list also features a number of QCs and senior barristers, including Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, and Hugh Tomlinson QC and Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers.
Earlier this year, Legal Week research found strong support among London partners for a second Brexit referendum, with 75 percent of all respondents to Legal Week‘s Big Question survey saying there should be a second vote.