Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

United Kingdom can revoke Article 50 unilaterally - European Union advocate general

United Kingdom can revoke Article 50 unilaterally - European Union advocate general

"Advocate General Campos Sanchez-Bordona proposes that the Court of Justice should declare that Article 50. allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the European Union", the bloc's top court said in a statement.

Scottish MPs and MEPs had brought the case on Article 50 - a 250-word clause inserted into the EU charter eight years ago, which had never been used until the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union in the summer of 2016.

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He said parliament was not necessarily facing a choice between accepting Mrs May's deal or leaving the European Union with no deal, and that "there are other options, and we can stop the clock". It is still possible that the court may even rule that the case is inadmissible.

The case comes as pressure builds from Brexit opponents for a second referendum on the decision to leave. The full courts ruling should be available much more quickly than normal because the court is dealing with the case on an expedited basis.

He said the opinion was a "huge win" ahead of Westminster's "meaningful vote" on Theresa May's Brexit deal, which is expected on December 11.

The UK's been told it could cancel Brexit without asking the other 27 European Union members.

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In a separate statement, the ECJ said: "In answer to the question from the Scottish court, the advocate general proposes that the Court of Justice should, in its future judgment, declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the member state's constitutional requirements, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice".

Alyn Smith MEP, one of those who brought the case, said the opinion issued by a European Court of Justice (ECJ) advocate general shows that "we now have a roadmap out of the Brexit shambles".

Ms Cherry tweeted that the opinion is a "massive vindication" for those who brought the case, adding: "We are optimistic the full court will follow this ruling".

"We know that if the Advocate General's opinion is followed we will know that we can keep all of the options and the special privileges that we enjoy as a member of the EU".

However, the statement raises the question of how the United Kingdom might revoke notification. "And the 2016 referendum parliament enacted was only advisory, after all... there is no denying the path to remain just got easier".

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has previously said that the EU27 would need to provide their consent to reverse the Brexit process.

After the opinion, a United Kingdom spokesperson reiterated that "it remains a matter of firm Government policy that Article 50 will not be revoked". Whereas extension of the Article 50 period could become a political necessity, revocation of Article 50 remains something of an academic point at present.

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