European Union Court Rules Britain Can Revoke Brexit Unilaterally

European Union Court Rules Britain Can Revoke Brexit Unilaterally

The decision comes as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May must decide whether to put her Brexit deal to a vote on Tuesday and risk a humiliating defeat that could plunge the U.K. into unprecedented political chaos. "As colleagues in the House of Commons consider Mrs May's disastrous deal we now have a road map out of this Brexit shambles".

Critics of May's deal say the ruling provides options - either to delay Brexit and renegotiate withdrawal terms, or cancel it if British voters change their minds.

She said the Prime Minister must get rid of the controversial insurance policy created to ensure frictionless trade across the island if no better trade deal is struck.

May's government says the ruling means nothing because it has no intention of reversing its decision to leave the European Union on March 29.

The case was brought by a cross-party group of Scottish politicians.

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Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson pointedly refused to rule out challenging Mrs May, although he insisted it was "nonsense" to suggest he was already lining up members of his cabinet.

Last month, a senior lawyer for the European Commission told ECJ judges that allowing a unilateral withdrawal would be a "disaster" for the EU.

Anti-Brexit campaigner dressed as British Prime Minister Theresa May holding a plate of fudge poses for photographers outside Parliament in Central London on Monday.

However, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, issued a tweet during Monday's United Kingdom parliamentary debate, saying the withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation.

The decision to halt the vote came just hours after the EU's top court ruled that Britain could unilaterally withdraw its decision to leave the bloc on March, 29.

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May's environment minister Michael Gove, who campaigned for Brexit, dismissed the ruling by repeating the government's insistence that it would not reverse its decision to leave.

Unexpected majority support would mean May can introduce a formal EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill to parliament for consideration and ratification in early 2019.

"Such a revocation, decided in accordance with its own national constitutional requirements, would have the effect that the United Kingdom remains in the European Union under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a member State", the court ruled. "This case is all very well but it doesn't alter either the result of the referendum or the clear intention of the government to leave".

"We think that the option to stay as a member of the European Union, on our current terms, is a credible and compelling alternative, to be considered in the national interest, right through Parliament's voting on Brexit", they said.

The withdrawal of the Article 50 notification needs to be definitive and to follow from a decision taken in accordance with the constitutional requirements of the United Kingdom and "this raises an issue of timing as there is nearly certainly insufficient time for the U.K.to run a referendum and pass the legislation needed to withdraw notification before March", said Ronan McCrea, a professor of constitutional and European law at University College London.

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