Wednesday 18 July 2018

European Council president Donald Tusk suggests Brexit can be stopped by UK

European Council president Donald Tusk Picture: AP
European Council president Donald Tusk Picture: AP

Jon Stone

The president of the European Council has suggested the UK could still decide to reverse Brexit.

Donald Tusk said negotiations could end in "no Brexit" if the British government wanted to.

"Ahead of us is still the toughest stress test. If we fail it, the negotiations will end in our defeat," he said in a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

"We must keep our unity regardless of the direction of the talks. The EU will be able to rise to every scenario as long as we are not divided."

"It is in fact up to London how this will end: With a good deal, no deal or no Brexit.

"But in each of these scenarios we will protect our common interest only by being together."

Legal opinion is split on whether Britain can unilaterally decide to revoke its triggering of "Article 50", the European Union treaty clause that sent the UK on its way out of the bloc.

If the clause is not revoked or no intervention is made to extend the withdrawal period with the unanimous consent of all 27 remaining member states, the UK will automatically leave without a deal in March 2019.

The UK would be unlikely to halt the Brexit process, however, because both the main parties say they will respect the result of the 2016 referendum that saw Britain vote to leave. The Liberal Democrats are calling for a referendum on the final deal.

In December MPs will hold a non-binding debate on the possibility of a second referendum on the final deal, after a petition about such a vote on the House of Commons website got over 100,000 signatures

Independent News Service

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