Revoking article 50 is the only way to definitively avoid a no-deal Brexit

Jolyon Maugham writes:

MPs have just voted against a no-deal Brexit. But this vote doesn’t achieve much by itself, because it’s just an indicative vote. “No deal can’t be taken off the table; it is the table.” You’ll hear this clever soundbite in the Twitter feeds of MPs and commentators on both sides of the Brexit divide, but it suffers from the serious defect of being wrong.

When we talk about no deal being the table, what we really mean is that it is the present default position. It is absolutely true that, unless we agree a deal, we will leave the EU without one – be that on the 29th of this month, if no extension is granted; or, if an extension is granted, when that extension expires. No deal is, as things stand, the ultimate default position.

But what is untrue is the assertion that no deal can’t be taken off the table. There is an alternative ultimate default: that we remain in the EU. And MPs could choose to adopt it.

The decision of the European court of justice in the Wightman case gave the United Kingdom an absolute right to revoke the article 50 notice and remain in the European Union. And it is open to MPs to adopt legislation – which I have drafted – that has the consequence that, if they can’t agree on a deal by exit day (whether that be on 29 March or at the expiry of an extension), we would automatically revoke our article 50 notice. [Continue reading…]

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