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Law officer says UK can cancel Brexit

European Court of Justice

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The case was heard by the full court of European judges last week

The UK should be able to unilaterally cancel its withdrawal from the EU, according to a top European law officer.

The non-binding opinion was delivered by the the European Court of Justice’s advocate general.

A group of Scottish politicians has asked the court whether the UK can call off Brexit without the consent of other member states.

The Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver its final ruling at a later date.

The advice from advocate general Manual Campos Sanchez-Bordona comes as the House of Commons begins five days of debates on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, with a vote due to be held next Tuesday.

In a written statement, the ECJ said Mr Campos Sanchez-Bordona believes that if a country decides to leave the EU, it should also have the power to change its mind during the two-year exit process specified in Article 50 of the EU treaty, and without needing the consent of the other 27 member states.

While the advocate general’s opinions are not binding, the court tends to follow them in the majority of its final rulings.

The anti-Brexit politicians and campaigners who have brought the case hope it will give MPs an extra option when considering whether to approve Mrs May’s draft deal or not, because it could keep alive the prospect of calling off Brexit.

The ECJ statement said the advocate general had proposed that the “ourt of Justice should declare that Article 50 allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.

“That possibility continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded.”

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