Will Article 50 ever be triggered?

The Guardian reports: When David Cameron delivered his resignation speech outside No 10 on Friday, he said he would leave the task of triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty – the untested procedure governing how an EU member state leaves the bloc – to his successor.

This has prompted much speculation – and a glimmer of hope – for those who want Britain to remain in the European Union. Cameron, they argue, had repeatedly said during the campaign that article 50 would be triggered immediately if Vote Leave were to win the Brexit referendum.

By not doing so, the theory is, and by handing the responsibility to whoever succeeds him, Cameron has handed the next prime minister a poisoned chalice. Given the dramatic reaction to Brexit – on world stock markets, on the foreign exchanges, in Scotland, across Europe – and with the enormity of the consequences of leaving the EU now plain, who will dare pull the trigger?

One consequence of this, as a below-the-line commenter argued on the Guardian website, is that Cameron has effectively snookered the Brexit camp: they may have won the referendum, but they cannot use the mandate they have been given because if they do so they will be seen to be knowingly condemning the UK to recession, breakup and years of pain.

This could mean, as lawyer and writer David Allen Green has suggested in a blogpost, that “the longer article 50 notification is put off, the greater the chance it will never be made … As long as the notification is not sent, the UK remains part of the EU. And there is currently no reason or evidence to believe that, regardless of the referendum result, the notification will be sent at all.” [Continue reading…]

The Guardian also reports: [Prominent Brexit campaigner Dr] Liam Fox cast doubt on the necessity of triggering the article 50 clause of the Lisbon treaty that sets out the legal process for a country’s EU withdrawal.

“A lot of things were said in advance of this referendum that we might want to think about again and that [invoking article 50] is one of them,” said the Conservative MP.

“I think that it doesn’t make any sense to trigger article 50 without having a period of reflection first, for the cabinet to determine exactly what it is that we’re going to be seeking and in what timescale.” [Continue reading…]

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