Only “watertight” way to stop no-deal Brexit is to revoke Article 50

A Cambridge academic has said the only rock-solid way that Parliament can block a no-deal Brexit is by revoking Article 50.

Professor Mark Elliott, who’s Professor of Public Law at the University of Cambridge, was responding to fellow academic Vernon Bogdanor, who wrote an article for The Times last week proposing three ways that Parliament could stop or reverse no deal.


However, in a letter to The Times, Elliott said that Bogdanor’s ideas are misplaced. The Cambridge Professor explained that Parliament cannot pass legislation extending the Brexit date. Instead, it can merely require the Prime Minister to seek an extension (that might not be granted by the EU).

Elliott also explained that repealing the EU Withdrawal Act wouldn’t work, as it wouldn’t affect the process of departing the EU.

Finally, he tackled Bogdanor’s most radical idea: namely, that a Remain-dominated Parliament elected after 31st October could legislate retrospectively to decide that the UK never actually withdrew from the EU.

Elliott snubbed this idea – saying that EU Treaties provide “no legal basis for retrospectively restoring UK membership.”

Instead, he said, the only foolproof way to block a no-deal Brexit is by revoking Article 50.

“If Parliament is serious about preventing a no-deal Brexit, the only legally watertight way of doing so is the enactment of legislation requiring the Prime Minister to revoke the UK’s Article 50 notification.”

How this could be brought about in political terms, is anyone’s guess.

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