Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:12
The British Pound has surged against most major currencies, as a top EU official said the UK could unilaterally decide to revoke Article 30 and stay in the bloc.
Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona made the announcement in response to a case brought by Scottish MPs and other politicians. Although the decision is not legally-binding, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) usually follows his stance when it makes its final rulings. The ECJ will deliver its final ruling at a later date.
Sterling jumped against the Greenback by 0.76% as of 09:53 GMT, to reach 1.282 as the news broke. It was also 0.21% higher than the Euro and 0.02% up on the Japanese Yen.
The decision has galvanized both sides of the UK parliament’s Brexit divide, with so-called Remainers hoping that it gives the country another way out if Prime Minister Theresa May’s polarising deal gets rejected by MPs. Her supporters, on the other hand, say it makes getting behind the agreement even more important – otherwise Brexit might not even happen at all.
Unsurprisingly, the British government fought against the court case, arguing that it was “purely hypothetical” since ministers had no intention of remaining in the EU. Lord Keen, acting on behalf of the government, said the potential to revoke Article 30 was akin to opening Pandora’s Box.
The European Council was also against the motion. It claimed that allowing a nation to decide it was going to leave the bloc and then unilaterally changing its mind could create “endless uncertainty”. In addition, it pointed out that countries could simply announce their withdrawal in an attempt to secure better membership terms, before cancelling their decision.
Stephen Doughty, a MP from the opposition Labour Party, said: “Brexit is not and has never been legally inevitable. All options [are now] on [the] table. Parliament should take back control and put the decision back to the people.”
Conservative MP Simon Hoare, a supporter of Mrs May’s, said: “This is a huge announcement. Those who believe in democracy take note: behaviour leading to a general election may see Brexit slip away. Is that seriously what people want?”
The decision comes as Mrs May faces a five-day battle to win over MPs and get them to back her deal. Parliament is set to vote on the agreement next Tuesday – with the Labour Party vowing to launch a vote of no confidence in her leadership if she is defeated.