LONDON — The UK Supreme Court said in its ruling on whether Parliament must vote on Britain’s Article 50 request to leave the EU that once the Article 50 trigger is pulled “it cannot be withdrawn.” That appears to mean that once Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 in March, the UK will leave the EU, no matter what happens, in 2019.
There is no way back, the Supreme Court said.
While the statement on the reversibility of Article 50 is not the main holding in the ruling, it overturns the understanding of the legal status of Article 50 once triggered. Lord Kerr, the man who wrote Article 50, believed a country could withdraw its request during the article’s two-year negotiation time period.
Here is the court’s statement on the issue, from paragraph 26 of the ruling:
In these proceedings, it is common ground that notice under article 50(2) (which we shall call “Notice”) cannot be given in qualified or conditional terms and that, once given, it cannot be withdrawn. Especially as it is the Secretary of State’s case that, even if this common ground is mistaken, it would make no difference to the outcome of these proceedings, we are content to proceed on the basis that that is correct, without expressing any view of our own on either point. It follows from this that once the United Kingdom gives Notice, it will inevitably cease at a later date to be a member of the European Union and a party to the EU Treaties.
This story is being updated live.
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