Speed Reads


Top EU legal adviser wants to hand Britain a get-out-of-Brexit-free card

On Tuesday, a top legal adviser to the European Union's highest court counseled that if Britain chooses, it can change its mind about Brexit without input from the other 27 EU member states. A multi-party group of Scottish lawmakers had requested guidance on that question from the EU's European Court of Justice, and Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona handed down his non-binding legal opinion just as Britain's Parliament started five days of debate over whether to approve Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit proposal.

The ECJ often but not always concurs with the advice of the advocate general, and the full court is expected to hand down its judgment within weeks. The British government had opposed the Scottish appeal to the European Court, arguing that whether it can un-invoke the EU charter's Article 50 is a useless hypothetical question because "the U.K. does not intend to revoke its notification."

Anti-Brexit politicians wanted the EJC to endorse the position that Britain can still scrap its Article 50 invocation before the U.K. withdraws from the EU on March 29 so that Parliament has that option should it vote down May's Brexit deal next Tuesday. One possible route out of Brexit would be to hold a second referendum on whether to call off the divorce. If Parliament rejects the deal, it could end May's tenure and maybe even bring down her government.