European judges have ruled that Britain can pull back from the brink of Brexit and remain a member of the European Union without invoking any more legal processes.
The European Court of Justice ruled the UK is free to cancel Brexit without penalty at any time.
The case was lodged before the court by a group of lawyers and politicians from the EU and Britain’s regional assemblies.
Calling themselves the Good Law Project, the group issued a statement through lawyer Jo Maugham on Twitter.
“The Good Law Project and six Scottish parliamentarians have taken on the government, the 27 EU member states and the European Commission and won arguably the most important case in modern legal domestic history,” said the Tweet.
Option to withdraw
“The 2016 referendum – during which Leave and the regulator both broke the law – would shame a banana republic.
“No one voted for a deal that cuts our freedoms and leaves us worse off with less control. But all the courts can do is open the door to Remaining.
“It is up to MPs to remember what they came into politics for and to find the moral courage to put the country’s interests before private ambition.”
The judgement clarifies that the option to withdraw from Brexit lasts if the withdrawal agreement between Britain and the EU has not formally started or, if the agreement is not ratified, for two years from the date Article 50 was triggered. That was March 29, 2017, so the two-year limit runs out on March 29, 2019.
Uncertain future for Brexit
Meanwhile, the government’s Brexit path is uncertain. Fury in Westminster over the back-stop arrangements for Northern Ireland has led to MPs making clear the government faced defeat in a vote to ratify the withdrawal agreement.
Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to rally support for the agreement from the EU, but EU leaders have made clear the deal will not be renegotiated although they may try to clarify some of the points.
May seems to have lost the confidence of her party, but no one seems willing to step up for a party leadership battle which would also see her lose office.