EU court’s aide says UK can drop Brexit as May begins parliament quest

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union’s top legal adviser said on Tuesday Britain had the right to withdraw its Brexit notice, opening a new front in a battle over Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to leave the EU, which could be rejected in parliament next week.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the media during the G20 Leaders Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The advice from the European Court of Justice’s advocate general emboldened supporters of EU membership in Britain’s parliament on the first of five days of debate on May’s plans to keep close economic ties after leaving the bloc in March.

May faces a daunting struggle to secure parliament’s approval in the key vote on Dec. 11 after her plan was criticised by Brexit supporters and opponents alike.

“The British people want us to get on with a deal that honours the referendum and allows us to come together again as a country, whichever way we voted,” she will tell lawmakers on Tuesday, according to excerpts of her speech.

“This is the deal that delivers for the British people.”

May’s has long warned lawmakers that if they do not back her deal, they could open the door to Britain falling out of the EU without any measures deal to soften the transition, or that Brexit might not happen.

The advice from the ECJ advocate general – not binding but usually heeded by the court – suggested to some lawmakers that revoking Britain’s “Article 50” divorce notice was an option.

“It’s a false choice to say it’s the PM’s deal or chaos,” said Conservative lawmaker Sam Gyimah, who quit as a minister on Friday over May’s deal.

 »