On Monday Europe’s top court ruled that Britain could halt Brexit without the endorsement of fellow European Union member states, in a victory for pro-Europeans on the eve of a key House of Commons vote.
The European Court of Justice said, in response to a suit from a group of Scottish politicians “The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU.”
“Such a cancellation, decided in accordance with its own national constitutional requirements, would have the influence that the United Kingdom remains in the EU under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a member State,” the court ruled.
Following a 2016 referendum, it was declared by Britain its intention to quit the EU on March 29th last year, triggering the “Article 50” EU treaty procedure that would see it definitively leave two years later, on the same date next year.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government avers it has no intention of halting the process and has agreed a draft withdrawal agreement with the 27 remaining member states.
The withdrawal agreement is anticipated to go before the British parliament for approval on Tuesday.
If as appears probable, it is forbidden it would raise fears that Britain could crash out of the union on March 29th without a deal or that it could cancel or postpone Brexit in order to hold another referendum.
The court’s ruling will be welcomed by campaigners for a second referendum, but May’s government claims it has no intention of reversing course, whatever the court in Luxembourg might say.
“This case is all very well but it doesn’t alter either the result of the referendum or the clear purpose of the government to leave.
“It is the intent of the government to honor that referendum mandate.