They can do this as the “price” for agreeing to trigger Article 50. This would clearly be DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.
Once the Supreme Court, as anticipated, confirm that parliament must sanction the triggering of Article 50 I expect Theresa May to quickly present a Bill to allow Article 50 to be triggered. If I am right it will be a simple Yes/No question forcing MPs into a corner — it would be a brave MP that voted NO (there are a few and they are brave).
The Government are now saying that MPs will get a vote on the deal but their plan is for MPs to have a choice between the deal as negotiated or leaving the EU without a deal — really no choice at all.
Obviously Mrs May has to appear to accept the “nuclear option” of leaving without a deal — but her clever ruse is unlikely to fool any of the EU negotiating team. We will end the process with a poor deal and everyone knows it.
The Brexit extremists want to leave at any cost and it is up to those opposing such a catastrophe to ensure that the UK has a way back from disaster.
I suggest that instead of trying to vote the A50 bill down MPs should instead extract a price for voting Yes and the price should be a new referendum to ratify the exit terms. Have the Bill amended to include this ratification step at the end of negotiations.
If a ratification referendum becomes part of UK law it will be very difficult for the EU to argue against the UK’s right to this option. This is explained in the blog: “UK don’t trigger Article 50 without ability to stop the process”.
Jolyon Maugham is currently seeking confirmation from the European Court of Justice that the UK can indeed unilaterally stop the withdrawal process triggered by the Article 50 (2) notification.
A number of eminent individuals are of the opinion that the process can be stopped. Jean-Claude Piris, a former director-general of the Council of the European Union’s Legal Service, maintains that “Article 50 is not for ever and the UK could change its mind” (FT 01/09/2016).
The steps would be:
If positioned correctly a referendum at the end of the process would give legitimacy to the deal if MrsMay really can get “all of our favorite things” in a new deal but, and this is key, would also allow the UK to stop the Article 50 exit process and stay in the UK if the deal is not acceptable.