Britain can unilaterally end Brexit process, says top EU court lawyer

Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona told the European Court of Justice that a decision by the British government to change its mind about invoking the countdown to departure would be legally valid.

The case to decide whether an European Union member state such as the United Kingdom can decide on its own to revoke the Article 50 withdrawal process, or whether the agreement of the 27 other member states would be required, was brought by a cross-party group of Scottish politicians.

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

Noting Theresa May's Brexit deal as agreed is so bad no rational person could accept it, the government could cancel Brexit altogether, he said.

The Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver its final ruling at a later date. Batten remarked: "The political establishment intends to reverse the decision of the Referendum and betray Brexit at any cost".

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.

Meanwhile, British MPs will vote today on whether the government broke parliamentary rules by not publishing the full legal advice it received on its Brexit plan.

The court case was referred to the ECJ by Edinburgh's Court of Session in September after a legal case was brought by a group of anti-Brexit Scottish politicians.

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The AG proposed that the court should agree that article 50 allows for unilateral revocation within the two-year period from the notification of the intention to leave (that took place on March 29, 2017) and that this possibility remains until such a time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded and as long as the revocation is decided upon in accordance with the UK's constitutional requirements and is formally notified to the European Council.

Ms Cherry tweeted that the opinion is a "massive vindication" for those who brought the case, adding: "We are optimistic the full court will follow this ruling".

He also rejected the United Kingdom government's position that the case is purely hypothetical and therefore inadmissible.

Although the Advocate General's opinion is non-binding, the ECJ follow his opinions in the majority of cases.

However, the statement raises the question of how the United Kingdom might revoke notification.

Sanchez-Bordona on Tuesday rejected the arguments by the European Commission and EU governments, that revocation of Article 50 can only happen with the unanimous backing of the remaining 27 nations.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has previously said that the EU27 would need to provide their consent to reverse the Brexit process. "And the 2016 referendum parliament enacted was only advisory, after all... there is no denying the path to remain just got easier".

This would effectively mean postponing, or possibly cancelling altogether, the country's exit from the European Union - which may pave the way for a second referendum on the issue in the UK.

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