Brexit: Downing Street rejects legal opinion on Article 50

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May
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Downing Street has rejected a legal opinion arguing that the UK should have the right to unilaterally revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona rejected the contention that Article 50 only allows the possibility of revocation following a unanimous decision of the European Council.

Instead, he said Article 50 allows the “unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the Withdrawal Agreement is formally concluded”.

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The case to decide whether an EU member state such as the UK can decide on its own to revoke the Article 50 withdrawal process, or whether the agreement of the 27 other member states would be required, was brought by a cross-party group of Scottish politicians.

But the Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters in Westminster "this is not a final judgment" and "it does nothing in any event to change the clear position of the Government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked".

A full ruling is expected in the coming days and could be issues before the Commons votes on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on 11 December.

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Judges at the ECJ accept the recommendation of the advocate general in a majority of cases.

Responding to the opinion Catherine Stihler, the Labour MEP for Scotland and a member of the group involved in the legal process, said: “There is now light at the end of the tunnel."