Dec 07, 2018
Published December 7, 2018- The chances of the U.K. staying in the European Union have doubled according to Malcolm Barr, head of U.K. Economics.
Barr raised the probability of no-Brexit to 40% from 20% previously, after the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice said that the U.K. could unilaterally cancel Brexit by withdrawing its Article 50 notification of leaving the EU. In a ruling on Monday 10 December, the ECJ formally confirmed that view.
“The U.K. now appears to have the option of revoking unilaterally and taking a period of time of its own choosing to decide what happens next,” wrote Barr in a research note to clients.
“That time could be used to hold a second referendum on terms entirely decided by the U.K. It could also, or alternatively, be used to establish a different approach to a withdrawal negotiation.”
He added that a second referendum appeared more likely than a general election as the route to no-Brexit.
Members of Parliament are considering whether to back Theresa May’s deal. While May’s plan has the support of the EU, it is unlikely to get the backing of the House of Commons.
In the same note, Barr halved the chances of a no-deal Brexit to 10% from 20% previously.
The opinion of the Advocate General “makes no deal significantly less likely,” he wrote.
“The possibility of revoking Article 50 potentially gives the Commons both an ability to stop the Brexit process and do so without removing the Prime Minister via a confidence vote or other forms of pressure.”
However, at 50%, an orderly Brexit is still the most likely outcome according to Barr, although he reduced that likelihood from 60%.
Overall, the broadening options available to the U.K. are likely to result in a “softer” Brexit, if not reverse the decision entirely.
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