Lawmakers could stop the Brexit process cold and keep Britain in the European Union by revoking Article 50, a top legal adviser of the 28-member alliance said Tuesday.
The EU’s advocate general released a new legal opinion outlining the process so lawmakers know they don’t have to go along with the plan if they don’t want to.
“Unilateral revocation [of Article 50] would also be a manifestation of the sovereignty of the departing member state, which chooses to reverse its initial decision,” said advocate general Campos Sanchez-Bordona.
The legal recommendation cites Britain’s “sovereignty” to make treaties as the way MPs could revoke Article 50 in good faith. That gives fuel to lawmakers who oppose Brexit and took legal action a year ago to stop it. Now, they have a third option, other than accepting Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan or leaving the EU with no deal. If the court endorses the advocate general’s opinion, the case will be referred to the court of session in Edinburgh for a final ruling.
“It is now highly likely that, if the people of [Britain] were to change their minds and decide to remain in the EU, there is now a route to doing so,” Andy Wightman of the Scottish Green Party said.
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith, who filed the legal action to stop Brexit, said he’s long believed there was a way to “stop the clock.”
“We now have a road map out of the Brexit shambles, a bright light has switched on above an ‘exit’ sign and the false choice being offered to MPs at Westminster — that it is Mrs. May’s disastrous deal or chaos — is show for what it is, an abuse of parliament.”
Former British lawmaker John Kerr, who helped write Article 50, said it should be up to the members of parliament whether they want to keep going along.
“Despite some of the bogus claims that have been made by those who oppose staying in the EU, there would be no price to pay — political or financial — if we were to take back the Article 50 letter,” Kerr said.
May said Monday she’s confident her Brexit deal will pass and that she will stay in power. Some critics have suggested she should resign if her plan fails.
Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29.