On December 4, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Advocate General opined that the United Kingdom could still prevent Brexit from happening by unilaterally revoking its Article 50 notification, provided that such revocation is (1) formally notified to the European Council, (2) was decided in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements and (3) does not constitute an abusive practice. It is anticipated that the CJEU will confirm this view in a formal judgment before next Tuesday, when the U.K. House of Commons is expected to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement. This would raise the prospect of the U.K. Parliament voting to revoke its intention to leave the European Union, rather than be faced with a stark choice between Prime Minister May’s deal and leaving the European Union without a deal in place. Senior ministers say that it is the U.K. government, rather than the U.K. Parliament, that would have to decide to revoke Article 50. However, were a clear majority of Members of Parliament to support such a parliamentary motion, then presumably the government would have to reconsider. If so, then it is expected that another referendum will need to occur, which would in turn necessitate the EU27 agreeing to extend the two-year period beyond March 29 for at least a couple of months. While Prime Minister May is expected to lose the vote next Tuesday, many currently think that she should prevail on a second vote around January 21.
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