The European Court Of Justice has declared that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 at any point.
The ECJ stated Monday morning that “The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU” in a move that will likely embolden calls for a second referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) December 10, 2018
This ruling comes as a result of a petition which was lodged last year by two Scottish Green party MSPs, Andy Wightman and Ross Greer; the Scottish National party MP Joanna Cherry QC; the SNP MEP Alyn Smith; the Scottish Labour MEP David Martin; and the Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine.
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, played down the gravity of this decision by the ECJ this morning on BBC R4’s Today programme, saying: “We don’t want to stay in the European Union. We voted very clearly … And that also means leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. So this case is all very well, but it doesn’t alter either the referendum vote or the clear intention of the government to make sure that we leave on 29 March.”
The ruling by the ECJ followed pushes by both the UK Government and the European Commission to demand that Article 50 cannot be revoked.
However, the court ruled that as long as the decision was reached democratically, the UK has every right to revoke Article 50 anytime before March 29, 2019, the day the UK is set to leave the EU.
Following the discussion there has been a variety of responses from pundits and politicians:
So an extension of Article 50 to allow time for another vote, followed by revocation of Article 50 if the outcome is Remain seems to be an option that is now open to the House of Commons. #ECJ
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 10, 2018
Quite a victory after a long legal battle for @andywightman @joannaccherry @JolyonMaugham et al. Article 50 process can be revoked unilaterally, the European Court of Justice says. They wanted MPs to be informed of all the options available.
— BBC Andrew Kerr (@BBCandrewkerr) December 10, 2018
Surprise surprise the highly political European Court of Jesters has allowed the UK to unilaterally withdraw Article 50. Amazing coincidence ruling made just a day ahead of meaningful vote. Stand by for 2nd referendum….MPs likely to betray democracy in UK.
— Richard Tice (@TiceRichard) December 10, 2018