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EU’s top court urged to allow a reversal of Brexit

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo taken on February 20, 2017 a European Union flag flies near the Elizabeth Tower, otherwise known as Big Ben, in London. (AFP photo)

British lawmakers have called on the European Union’s top court to issue a ruling that could allow Britain to reverse its decision to leave the bloc without the consent of other member states.

A lawyer representing a group of Scottish lawmakers and politicians told a hearing of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Tuesday that the court should give its interpretation of Article 50 of EU’s Lisbon Treaty so that Britain could reverse a 2016 decision to trigger the legal mechanism and withdraw from the bloc based on the result of a referendum that came earlier that year.

“These petitioners need to know the options for revocation which are open to withdrawing member states now, to allow them - properly and in a fully informed way - to carry out their duties as democratically elected representatives,” said Aidan O’Neill, adding that an ECJ a ruling was necessary so that British lawmakers could make informed decisions.

O’Neill also argued that if there was a need for other 27 members of the EU to allow Britain to reverse its decision to pull out, the country could ultimately be forced out of the bloc against its wishes.

“It is fundamental to the treaties - and to the values of the European Union - that a member state can choose to revoke its withdrawal from the Union, without the need for the unanimous agreement of all the other member states,” said the lawyer.

The government of Prime Minister Theresa May has slammed the move to seek ECJ ruling on a potential revocation of Brexit, saying it is irrelevant because London is determined to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, regardless of what happens.

The government says the move, which came at the request of a Scottish court, is meant to pile more pressure on May to accept a second Brexit referendum amid her efforts to go through the parliament with a Brexit deal she reached with the EU last week.

EU lawyers are also against any ruling that could allow Britain to unilaterally reverse its decision to leave. They have told the ECJ that such a verdict would mean that any member would first announce its withdrawal and then force others to offer better incentives for it to return.

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