Can UK cancel Brexit and stay in EU?

I’ve just been reading an article which laid out all the options… depending on how MP’s vote

but nowhere could I see the option to Stay-In Eu talked about…

Have I missed something… or is it absolutely impossible to cancel Brexit ??

This suggests a way.

Opinion is divided - the EU’s lawyers think we can’t unilaterally revoke A50 and the government thinks we can - we are still waiting in the ECJ to rule on this.

I understand that the guy who drew up Article 50 says that it is entirely possible to do just that.
It is quite staggering that the Brexit juggernaut is allowed to continue whilst the financial backers of the Leave campaign have been referred for criminal prosecution.
Are we going to put ourselves into the ridiculous situation of having left the EU and then finding that the Referendum was, in fact, illegal?


The way A50 is written once triggered the member state who does so ceases to be a member two years later (or earlier by agreement) I don’t think that there is any ambiguity - the only provision to re-join is via article 49 (the normal process of joining).

This discussions suggests that Article 50 can be revoked (and also that it can’t!)

All of that is notwithstanding that the EU would prefer we stay, hence the punitive terms that Barnier drew up and which May seems hell bent on us having. Two Brexit friends I was having a beer with have said compared to the deal staying in is now the best option.

If there is a TV debate, we should be able to have an Xfatctor home vote just for fun

Hilary Benn, Chairman of the Brexit Select Committee, is organising cross party resistance to No Deal.
If the House votes against TM’s proposals and there is huge resistance to No Deal, a Second Referendum is the obvious nect step.

@Jane_Williamson This may be the source of your comment:

The extract describes that when a country has left the EU then the only way to rejoin is via article 49. The question is can brexit be reversed which is a different situation as until March next year the UK is still in the EU. As a country has never left the EU then the reversal of article 50 during its 2 year course has never been tested .
We wait with interest on the ECJ verdict

The important bit is para 3

Legally, therefore sending notification, and the subsequent withdrawal from the EU are irreversibly connected - if one, then the other with no qualifications (other than the fact it can be less than two years if agreement is reached and comes into force sooner).

Obvious having withdrawn you can re-apply - what para 5 says is that there is no special “fast path” for an ex member state.

A member (equally obviously) cannot join so we must leave before applying to re-join, even if only for a day.

TBH the EU’s and UK lawyers can argue this one in front of the ECJ - it’s their job not mine and they are better paid to boot.

I do tend to think that “if there is a will there is a way”

If both parties want it, then it can be reversed. The lawyers work for the governments, not the other way around (though you’d often not realise it!)

If the UK chose to remain in the EU I cannot imagine anyone allowing a bit of writing getting in their way, least of all the EU as it would represent a huge endorsement for them.

[edit] Just read Mat’s post! Indeed.[/edit]

On the latter points I agree - the EU27 have said that they would be happy for the UK withdrawal to be cancelled so I think if Parliament or the British public (by way of a referendum) asked to do that there would be an agreement. However it would be (and would have to be) mutual - the discussion was whether we could unilaterally cancel A50.

And in that case, if it came down to strict application of the letter of the law I’m not sure - and the way I read it is that we have triggered an unstoppable process.

As I said though, I’ll let the lawyers argue it out.

Usually, but I think not always, it depends on the previous agreement in force.

However lawyers don’t change the rules to suit their paymasters, they follow what the law states.

One would certainly like to think so.

The problems occur when the law has room for interpretation (which it frequently does).

My daughter, a lawyer who works for a large London firm, says that the firm has been run off its feet since the referendum as all their clients need to be up and running whatever type of Brexit arrives. That is a very expensive exercise and the cost will be passed on to the general public as customers of the firms involved. Her area is contract law with the Far East, an area that has been as busy as any.

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I often wondered what Tony Benn would think of his son. He’s certainly not a chip off the old block.


Oo I don’t much agree there, Teresa. He’s not a pipe-smoker and I don’t know how much tea he drinks, if any. But he has his Dad’s steely intellectual grip on affairs of state, and his father’s wonderful and incisive eloquence, albeit tailored to his times.

A politician to his fingertips, and an unshakeable yet totally modern socialist.


Well I’m sure like all fathers Tony Benn would be proud.
But Hilary Benn voted both for war with Iraq and bombing Syria. Something his father would never have done.