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UK can cancel Brexit—EU court

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled the UK can cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 European Union (EU) members.

The ECJ judges ruled this could be done without altering the terms of Britain’s membership.

A group of anti-Brexit politicians argued the UK should be able to unilaterally halt Brexit, but they were opposed by the government and EU.

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The decision comes as MPs are due to vote on Theresa May’s deal for leaving the EU.

MPs are already widely expected to reject the proposals during a vote in the House of Commons today.

BBC Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming said the ruling made staying in the EU “a real, viable option” and that may “sway a few MPs” in the way they vote.

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But he said “a lot would have to change in British politics” to see the UK remain in the EU, with May and the government having to change its mind to make it a “political reality”.

A senior ECJ official—the advocate general—said last week he agreed the UK should be able to change its mind about leaving. His opinion was not legally binding, but the court tends to follow his advice in the majority of cases.

The campaigners hope the victory in their legal case will increase the chances of Brexit being called off completely, potentially through another referendum.

This is because they believe it sends the message that MPs are not facing a choice between accepting May’s deal or leaving the EU with no deal, and that “there are other options, and we can stop the clock.”

Two attempts by the UK government to appeal against the referral to the European court were rejected, and the case was heard by all 27 ECJ judges last month.—BBC.

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