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’There are just so many questions’

Jacquelyn Maclennan, a Church of Scotland elder in Brussels, tells Jackie Macadam of her concerns for the future in post-Brexit Europe


BREXIT continues to confuse, perplex and work its way steadily closer.

For us in Britain it’s difficult enough to imagine what is liable to happen and what we should do to prepare – but for congregations in the Church of Scotland spread across Europe, the question of how Britain’s exit from the European Union might aff ect them is a very real and potentially frightening prospect.

“It suddenly stunned me that the UK – the country of the Magna Carta, with a strong commitment to democracy – was depriving me of a fundamental right: the right to vote in a matter which had the potential of upending my life, professionally and personally, and the lives of millions.”

Jacquelyn MacLennan is a partner in a major global law firm, with around 2000 lawyers.

A Scot, she was stunned to find out she, and others in her situation – British people living and working in Europe, who’d lived outside the UK for more than 15 years – were not to be allowed to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, and that their futures were to be decided by other people.

“I felt that I could not stay on the sidelines. And that resulted in a challenge to the Referendum Act, in a case where I was not the lawyer, but the plaintiff, along with war veteran and campaigner for voting rights Harry Shindler. We were represented by Aidan O’Neill QC, appropriately both a Scottish advocate and English barrister.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND AND BREXIT - What it means for the Kirk, at home and abroad There are so many questions’: A Church Elder in Brussels A DIVINE GIFT - The benefits of humour Plus much more across 60 pages