“The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU,” stated the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ), just one day prior to the UK’s parliamentary vote on prime minister Theresa May’s plan for exiting the Union.
Prior to this ruling, European jurists held that a Brexit reversal would require the approval of the other 27 member states of the EU.
Brexit opponents may see their position strengthened by this latest development.
“Today’s ruling sends a clear message to UK MPs ahead of tomorrow’s vote that there is a way out of this mess. A light at the end of the tunnel for the economy, for jobs, and for the UK’s standing on the world stage. Now it’s up to the UK,” stated Alyn Smith, a Scottish nationalist member of the European Parliament.
Not only is the UK able to turn back around in easier terms, but the EU would welcome such a move and help ease the end of Brexit plans, “If the UK chooses to change their minds on Brexit, then revoking Article 50 is an option and the European side should make every effort to welcome the UK back with open arms,” according to Smith.
But others within May’s government believe this ruling will not change anything, such is the case of Michael Gove, May’s environment minister.
The ECJ has further stated that if the UK decided to revoke its Article 50 process it would not be subject to any type of penalty and that “Such a revocation, decided in accordance with its own national constitutional requirements, would have the effect that the United Kingdom remains in the EU under terms that are unchanged.”
The ECJ also stated that in order for a possible reversal to become binding it would have to be approved by the UK’s parliament.
The opposition holds hopes that Brexit may be reverted through this decision, a move which would be implemented through another referendum on the decision to leave the EU.
May was recently held in contempt by her country’s parliament for not fully disclosing the legal advice offered to her by the attorney general, regarding the deal, at their request.
May’s deal, “far from taking back control, hands control to somebody else,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the Labor Party leader, criticizing the deal which will be put up to vote just one day after the ECJ’s ruling.