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A Tory Politician Wants To Make It Treason To Support The European Union

Christian Holliday wants to criminalise those who "imagine, devise, promote, work, or encourage others, to support [the] UK becoming a member of the European Union".

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Darren Staples / Reuters

A Conservative politician and Vote Leave activist has called for the law to be changed so people who support Britain's membership of the European Union are prosecuted for treason.

Christian Holliday, a Tory councillor in Guildford, says he wants the offence introduced from the moment Britain leaves the EU in order to stop Brexit ever being reversed.

"It is becoming clear that many politicians and others are unwilling to accept the democratic decision of the British people to leave the EU," he wrote on a parliamentary petition. "Brexit must not be put at risk in the years and decades ahead. For this reason we the undersigned request that the Treason Felony Act be amended as set out in this petition."

Holliday wants parliament to introduce two new criminal offences. One would make it illegal to "imagine, devise, promote, work, or encourage others, to support UK becoming a member of the European Union" and the other would criminalise those who "conspire with foreign powers to make the UK, or part of the UK, become a member of the EU".

Please sign my petition to make supporting EU membership an offence after we leave: #Brexit #Article50

Holliday started the official government petition late last week but by Monday morning it had only attracted 120 signatures, some way off the 10,000 required to elicit an official government response.

The councillor did not respond to multiple requests for comment, although his proposal may not go down well with his constituents in Guildford, where 56% of voters backed Remain in June's EU referendum.

The Treason Felony Act, which Holliday wishes to amend, is a partially defunct and largely unenforced piece of legislation which makes it illegal to even suggest removing the British monarch.

It was originally introduced in 1848 to protect Queen Victoria as a wave of revolution crept across Europe, as populist uprisings against established elites upended the continent's traditional political order.


Paul Spooner, the leader of the Conservative group on Guildford council, has condemned the petition as "illogical nonsense from someone who clearly needs support" and said he has suspended a councillor.

I have suspended a member of the Conservative Group @GuildfordBC this morning. Whip withdrawn until next Group Meeting in Nov.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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