Mr Henkel praised the “good news” delivered by the European Court of Justice’s legal advisor, who said the UK Parliament should have the unilateral ability to revoke the Article 50 exit clause, which was triggered by the Government last year and means Britain will leave the EU on March 29, 2019. The announcement, despite not a binding ruling, was proclaimed as the first positive step to reversing Brexit by the German MEP, who has long argued the decision is detrimental to both the EU and UK. In his opinion, ECJ Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona said the UK can “unilaterally” revoke its withdrawal from the EU.
The expert said: “Withdrawal from an international treaty, which is the reverse of a treaty-making power, is by definition a unilateral act of a state party and a manifestation of its sovereignty. Unilateral revocation would also be a manifestation of the sovereignty of the departing member state, which chooses to reverse its initial decision.”
Responding, Mr Henkel told Express.co.uk: “Good news for all who haven‘t given up fighting the biggest catastrophe that faces the EU.
“Should Theresa May lose the battle for her deal next week, the decision of the ECJ’s Advocate General opens the possibility to stop Brexit eventually.
“As a German born during the World War 2, I am grateful for the Allies having fought and won the Battle of Britain.
“A revocation of Article 50 provides an opportunity for a second referendum. This time I don‘t want to lose the Battle for Britain.”
Mr Henkel, a former chief executive of IBM and president of the Federation of German Industries, said the ECJ opinion should act as a “wake-up call” for Brussels who have not done enough to ensure Britain maintains its membership of the bloc.
He urged the EU to start the process of offering Britain a “new deal” on its membership, which would answer the criticisms of eurosceptics.
“The possibility of a revocation of Article 50 by a unilateral decision of the British Government is not only an opportunity for Britain, it is also a wake-up-call for Brussels,” the German added.
“Since Brexit is not only detrimental to Britain but also to the EU, I call on Brussels to now take a step towards the British and offer them a new deal, a deal which gives Britain some more say over immigration.
“After all, it was exactly on that issue where David Cameron was denied the requested flexibility and it was exactly that subject which the likes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson exploited to get the vote tipped towards Brexit.”
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith insisted the ECJ opinion offers Britain the opportunity to “stop the clock” on the Brexit process.
He said: “this is a huge win for us, and a huge step forward from the highest court in the business, and confirms what we have been hoping for: that the UK can indeed change its mind on Brexit and revoke Article 50, unilaterally.
“The Advocate General Opinion is not the final judgment, but the practice of the ECJ is that the judges tend to follow the Opinion so this is a major landmark.
“We now have a roadmap out of the Brexit shambles, a bright light has switched on above an ‘EXIT’ sign and the false choice being offered to MPs at Westminster – that it is Mrs May’s disastrous deal or chaos – is shown for what it is, an abuse of Parliament.
“There are other options, and we can stop the clock.”
But the case isn’t over yet with the final ruling still to come. If ECJ judges followed the advice of the Advocate General, which they do on a majority of cases, then Britain will be allowed to revoke Article 50 unilaterally.
According to the opinion, in order to withdrawal from the exit clause, Britain would have to first inform the European Council of its intensions and then would have to seek the approval of MPs to confirm the reversal with an act of parliament.
EU lawyers argued against the case brought by the Scottish parliamentarians, insisting allowing countries the unilateral right to revoke Article 50 would enable rogue states to use it as leverage in negotiations.
UK lawyers said the case was entirely hypothetical and should be thrown out because reserving the exit clause is not Government policy.
Published at Tue, 04 Dec 2018 13:18:00 +0000