Prime Minister Theresa May can rescind her “Article 50” letter on withdrawing from the European Union at any time before 29 March 2019 – two years after the letter was sent – with the consequence that the UK would remain a member of the EU and maintain all its current rights and privileges, including its opt-outs, budget rebate and non-membership of Schengen and the Euro.
No other member state would be able to stop the UK’s withdrawal of its Article 50 letter.
These are the conclusions of a legal opinion written by three eminent QCs which has now been sent to the Prime Minister and published online on the www.uklegalfuture.org.uk website.
Writing to the PM, Jessica Simor QC of Matrix Chambers states: ”if HMG is unable to secure a good deal or no deal is secured, the United Kingdom retains the option to remain within the EU at least up until 29 March 2019.”
The legal opinion comes after Lord (John) Kerr, the leading UK former diplomat who designed Article 50, told an Open Britain event in November 2017, that the UK retained its option of withdrawing its notice to leave the EU.
Commenting, Darren Jones MP, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:
“Three senior lawyers have backed up the view of Lord Kerr, the key architect of Article 50, that we can withdraw our notice to leave the EU if we want to.
“Ministers should drop the pretence that they can do as they please and there’s nothing that can be done about it. The people and their elected representatives remain sovereign.
“Ultimately it is for Parliament and the British people to decide. And as the facts of this Brexit shambles become more and more obvious, it is now clear that we have the right to change our mind.”
Notes to editors
The legal opinion can be read here:https://static1.squarespace.com/static/592d751786e6c0040d65d9c1/t/5a57a67c24a694f00f5b43c9/1515693694200/Opinion+on+Article+50.pdf
The letter to the Prime Minister can be read here:https://static1.squarespace.com/static/592d751786e6c0040d65d9c1/t/5a57a669419202b169b392b5/1515693673967/letter+to+Prime+Minister+final.pdf
The three QCs are: Marie Demtriou QC of Brick Court Chambers, Jessica Simor QC of Matrix Chambers and Tim Ward QC of Monckton Chambers. All three are experts in EU law and were on the Attorney General’s A Panel of Counsel and represent the United Kingdom.
Lord Kerr’s speech can be read here: http://www.open-britain.co.uk/full_text_of_lord_kerr_s_speech_article_50_the_facts and watched here:http://www.open-britain.co.uk/lord_kerr_we_can_change_our_minds_on_brexit_at_any_stage_of_the_process