This morning the Court of Justice of the European Union published its decision on whether a member state could unilaterally revoke a notification under Article 50, thereby reversing its decision to leave the EU.
As expected, the CJEU followed the Advocate General’s opinion from last week, confirming that unilateral revocation is possible and the consent of other EU member states is not required.
The political consequences for the UK’s exit negotiations are not completely clear, with considerable uncertainty about what will happen in the immediate aftermath of the Government’s expected defeat in the Commons vote on the exit deal agreed between the Prime Minster and the EU. However it seems very likely that this decision will strengthen the calls for the UK to delay its departure pending a referendum on the agreed terms of Brexit, and may even lead to an outright abandonment of Brexit being seen as an increasingly viable option if Parliament can’t agree on any other approach.
If the decision had gone the other way, it could have provided a welcome boost for Theresa May, with the removal of the option to revoke Article 50 leading to pro-remain MPs falling in line with her deal as a least-worst option. However, with all options still on the table, if tomorrow’s Parliamentary vote goes ahead it seems likely that the deal is still headed for a heavy defeat with completely unpredictable consequences.