for Leavers and Remainers
The Brexit ACT
- An act of parliament (the BREXIT ACT?) to lay out the next steps
- HMG is suggesting that the referendum provides the PM with the mandate and authority (through Royal prerogative) to proceed with the process of leaving the EU and in particular issuing notification under Article 50 (2) of the UK’s intent to leave.
- Given that the referendum was constructed as a advisory vote and the overwhelming majority of MPs favour remain then this would be a high risk strategy and subject to multiple legal challenges.
- By creating a Brexit Bill that sets out the process and clearly signals a decision point once the actual construct of a deal (or deals) is known then MPs are far more likely to give their backing.
- Leave will be getting their promised “Brexit means Brexit” and the Remain campaign will be able to see that they will have an opportunity to stop the exit process if there is not an attractive deal on offer.
Notification under Article 50 (2)
- Make the notification conditional e.g. “UK will leave the EU after ratification by the UK and the remaining EU members of the terms of leaving negotiated under Article 50, prior to the expiry of the agreed negotiating period (2 years if not agreed otherwise) the UK, in accordance with our constitutional process hold a General Election (or further referendum, or parliamentary vote) to ratify acceptance of the proposed deal. If the deal is not ratified then the UK will withdraw it’s notification to leave the EU.”
- For the EU to agree to a UK ratification process it will need to be clearly democratic and in-line with the UK’s constitutional process. The process could be another referendum or a parliamentary vote or a General Election.
- The “conditional” phrase is key — the proposition is that we can revoke the notification under Article 50 (2). Richard Tunnicliffe discusses this in his blog Shades of Article 50 @howshouldwevote. Whilst the legal position is not clear plenty of legal experts believe we can revoke notification (as long as this is before the 2 year time limit expires), see pages 4/5 in House of Lords review of the withdrawal process May 2016, so it will be well worth exploring and indeed discussing with our EU partners before we provide notification.
There seems to be no way around having what will almost certainly be a very complicated and prolonged period of negotiation.
Once the deal (or options for a deal) are known they can be reviewed by Parliament and the Country
The ratification process will have been set out the Brexit Bill
- If the option of a further referendum was decided upon the the electorate will once again have a Leave or Remain decision to make but the structure of the Leave option will be known. Quite a different proposition from June 23rd.
- If it was decided that the matter would be put to the country by way of a General Election then it would be for each party to align with Leave or Remain in their manifesto.
- I would hope that if it was decided to ratify the proposed exit deal through a vote in Parliament then the vote should be free from party considerations or whips.
Leave or Remain
- If the deal is ratified then it will also need ratification by the other 27 EU members and the UK leaves the EU
- If the deal is not ratified by the UK then we revoke our notification of intent to leave the EU under Article 50 (2) and remain in the EU.