Britain can unilaterally revoke Article 50

The UK should be allowed to unilaterally halt the Brexit process a ruling says. Pic ReutersMore

"It would be illogical to force that member state to withdraw from the European Union in order to then have to negotiate its accession", he said.

Before the debate, May's government faces another showdown with lawmakers over legal advice about the Brexit deal.

The main thrust of Cox's advice is already known - the government released a 43-page document on it Monday in a bid to fend off the contempt motion.

May has secured an agreement with European Union leaders that will see Britain leave the bloc in March next year with continued close trade ties, but the odds look stacked against her getting it through a deeply divided British parliament.

Defeat would leave the United Kingdom facing a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit on March 29, and could throw the country into a general election.

The case was brought forward in February by a group of Scottish politicians - Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Joanna Cherry MP and Alyn Smith MEP of the SNP, and Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, together with lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project.

"We now have a roadmap out of the Brexit shambles, a bright light has switched on above an "EXIT" sign and the false choice being offered to MPs at Westminster - that it is Mrs May's disastrous deal or chaos - is shown for what it is, an abuse of Parliament". Mrs May's surrender document will not pass a House of Commons vote, and the obvious result of that would be for a "no deal" Brexit.

Two attempts by the United Kingdom government to appeal against the referral to the European court were rejected, and the case was opposed by the government and the EU institutions in a hearing before all 27 ECJ judges last week.

Britain invoked the article on March 29, 2017 after voters backed Brexit in a national referendum the year before.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Tuesday that British consumers could see their weekly supermarket bills up by 10 percent in a worst-case Brexit scenario that involves a 25 percent fall in the value of the pound. Since most lawmakers oppose a no-deal Brexit, they could essentially take that option off the table.

With Britain set to leave the European Union on March 29, Brexit remains mired in uncertainty.

"Article 50 TEU [Treaty of the European Union] allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU", Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, an advocate general at the EU court in Luxembourg, said on Tuesday (4 December). While it is a non-binding ruling, the opinion of Advocate Generals are mostly followed by judges at the ECJ.

May's spokesman, James Slack, said the opinion didn't change "the clear position of the government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked".

The anti-Brexit politicians and campaigners who have brought the case hope it will give MPs an extra option when considering whether to approve Mrs May's draft deal or not, because it could keep alive the prospect of calling off Brexit - potentially through another referendum.

Mr Maugham said in a statement today: "This puts the decision about our future back in the hands of our own elected representatives, where it belongs".



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