British MPs could 'unilaterally' halt Brexit

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2018

One of the European Court of Justice's top advisers says Article 50 could be unilaterally revoked.

"I will still have a job in two weeks' time", no matter how MPs vote on 11 December, she told ITV, a British TV broadcaster, on Tuesday morning, amid speculation May would resign if she lost the vote.

She faces particular challenges from the pro-Brexit faction in her own party, which opposes several aspects of the agreement, including the Northern Ireland backstop, the objective of which is to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep.

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

Lawmakers are voting on a motion that could find the government in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the full guidance from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

A British government spokesman said the advice would change nothing for Prime Minister Theresa May's government.

A top official at the European Union's highest court is advising that Britain can unilaterally change its mind about leaving the EU.

The court is assessing the issue under an accelerated procedure, since Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29.

The comments raised expectations the Labour party could back putting Brexit to a second vote though it is unclear what impact such a prospect would have on sterling.

British government lawyers argued in an European Union court hearing last month that the case was inadmissible because the United Kingdom had no intention to revoke its decision.

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

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The Advocate General's legal opinion is a setback for the British government, which argued that the case was purely hypothetical because it had no intention of reversing the Article 50 process, and for the European Commission, which insists that it can only be revoked with the unanimous support of the remaining 27 EU member states.

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. While the ECJ, which is based in Luxembourg, often follows advice from an Advocate General, it does not always.

The European Union institutions also oppose the Scottish case, fearing member states will tempted to launch their own speculative exit bids to extract concessions from Brussels - only to reverse course. Batten remarked: "The political establishment intends to reverse the decision of the Referendum and betray Brexit at any cost".

"That puts the decision about our future back into the hands of our own elected representatives - where it belongs", said Jo Maugham, one of the lawyers who brought the case.

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