Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.
Brexit campaigner Gina Miller named UK’s most influential black person.
Gina Miller outside the high court in central London. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters.
List of 100 most influential people of African or African-Caribbean heritage shows significant rise in female entries.
Gina Miller, the campaigner who won a Brexit legal challenge against the government, has been named as the country’s most influential black person.
The acknowledgement comes in the latest annual list of the 100 most influential people of African or African-Caribbean heritage in Britain, published by the Powerlist Foundation on Tuesday.
It is set against an extraordinary range of vitriol directed at the lawyer over her successful challenge to the UK government over article 50.
“It’s amazing to get an accolade when what I’ve done has solicited a huge amount of abuse,” said Miller, who has previously said she would “seriously consider” leaving the UK because of threats of an acid attack that left her afraid to leave her home.
“To have somebody acknowledge me is extraordinarily kind and counters a lot of what I still get on a daily basis.”
Miller became a public figure when she challenged the UK government over its authority to trigger article 50 without parliamentary approval. The supreme court ruling in her favour in January and, as a consequence, she became a hate figure for many Brexit supporters.
In the same month as the supreme court judgment, the Metropolitan police revealed they had issued eight “cease and desist” notices to people who had sent Miller threatening messages.
In July, Rhodri Philipps, the fourth Viscount St Davids, was jailed for 12 weeks for offering money to anyone who would run over and kill Miller.
The entrepreneur, who founded and leads the online wealth manager SCM Direct and the True and Fair foundation charity, has had 24-hour security installed in her home and hired security guards.
She previously told the Guardian: “I’ve had people say there are only three positions a woman of colour can have – that is a prostitute, a cleaner or having babies.”
The recognition for Miller comes in a year that has seen a significant growth in the number of females on the Powerlist, with black women accounting for almost half of the top 100 and six of the top 10.
The Powerlist 2018 publisher, Michael Eboda, said: “I’m particularly proud that the number of the women on the list has increased so substantially.
“Gina was a shoo-in this year for number one. Brexit is the most important political event to happen this century and Gina’s role in ensuring the sovereignty of parliament was recognised by the courts, has been monumental and has set a precedent that will last hundreds of years.”
UK Vogue editor Edward Enninful, who is 10th on the power list, and Naomi Campbell. Photograph: Timpone/BFA/Rex/Shutterstock.
Miller beat Ric Lewis, chief executive and chair of Tristan Capital Partners, to the top spot. Completing the top three was Ismail Ahmed, founder of the money transfer company World Remit.
In fourth place was Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom, the communications regulator. She has previously criticised broadcasters for a “woeful” lack of diversity among their staff.
Another woman who made the top 10 was Laura Serrant, professor of nursing at Sheffield Hallam University. Serrant, who has extensive experience in health inequalities, said she was surprised but delighted to be included and commended the awards for demolishing stereotypes.
“It doesn’t restrict our achievements to specific sectors such as sport or entertainment,” she said. “That’s the beauty of the power list, looking into the diversity of occupations and experiences.”
At number 10 is Edward Enninful, who made headlines when he became the first male editor of Vogue in the magazine’s 101-year history.
An outspoken advocate for more diversity in fashion, he has wasted little time in increasing the number of black contributors to Vogue. He said he was “honoured to be on the list with such inspirational individuals”.
The Powerlist, first published in 2006, is picked by an independent panel of judges. Last year’s number one was Tom Illube, the entrepreneur and educational philanthropist.
Others who have topped the list include architect David Adjaye, former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, philanthropist Mo Ibrahim, and Baronesses Scotland and Amos.
An analysis of Britain’s most powerful and influential people, published by the Guardian last month, found that barely 3% are from black and minority ethnic groups, despite accounting for almost 13% of the population.
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