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IWGB launches crowdfunding appeal to meet legal costs for challenging Johnson's Brexit deadline

A TRADE union launched a crowdfunding appeal today after being hit with thousands of pounds in legal fees for an aborted court challenge against Boris Johnson over the October 31 Brexit deadline.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) brought legal action with the aim of forcing Mr Johnson to seek an extension to the deadline for Britain’s departure from the EU.

The union, which largely represents “gig economy” workers, and three of its members filed a High Court claim in early October, asking for an injunction to prevent Mr Johnson from undermining legislation aimed at avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

After Mr Johnson agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until January 31, the IWGB withdrew its claim.

But the union says government lawyers are pursuing it for legal costs of at least £8,000, a figure it is trying to cover with donations from the public.

The crowdfunding appeal is supported by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who said the appeal “goes to the heart of why Boris is unfit to be prime minister.”

One of the IWGB members who brought the case, Maritza Castillo Calle, said: “Precarious migrant workers like myself have been terrified by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and the impact it could have on our most basic rights.

“We decided to take action to protect our communities, but now because Boris Johnson lied about his intention to not seek an extension, we are being asked to pay thousands of pounds.

“By handing us this bill, it’s clear that this government for the rich is trying to intimidate ourselves and other working-class people from ever daring to hold it to account.”

Mr McDonnell said: “The PM lied, low-paid workers and their union bravely took action to hold him to account, the PM backtracked, and is now vindictively pursuing them for legal costs.”

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