REMAIN campaigners were accused of using the European Union’s top court as “political ammunition to pressure the UK Parliament” in their eleventh-hour bid to thwart Brexit which could throw the bloc into chaos.
Lawyers for the EU rejected the pleas from the anti-Brexit campaigners because their bid to reverse the UK’s exit would allow rogue member states to misuse the process to their benefit in the future. The group of Scottish lawyers and parliamentarians argued the the British parliament should have the unilateral right to reverse the UK’s decision to leave the EU before March 29, 2019, by revoking Article 50, the EU’s exit mechanism. But their argument was dismissed by lawyers for the UK Government and European Council, who suggested move plunge the EU into chaos.
Brexit news: EU lawyers rubbish Remainer bid to reverse Article 50 in ECJ hearing .
He also argued that the campaigners were attempting to use the ECJ as “political ammunition to pressure the UK Parliament” to stop Brexit ahead of the House of Common’s vote on Theresa May’s deal in December.
Hubert Legal, the EU’s top lawyer, insisted Article 50 requires the consent of the entire EU membership to be withdrawn.
He said: “There is no parallelism between the right to notify and the right to take back.
“National processes cannot suffice to pull the carpet on which everyone has been forced to stand on.”
His main point suggested a unilateral option for the withdrawal of Article 50 would transform the Lisbon Treaty mechanism entirely.
He said the negotiations could be used to “charm the notifying sheep back to the flock” with opt outs and blandishments that would ultimately weak the Brussels project.
The European Commission’s lawyer Karen Banks argued member states could act in an “abusive” manner by stopping and starting exit negotiations, creating “endless uncertainty”, which the two-year Article 50 process is designed to guard against.
Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the cross-party group of politicians, argued the EU invited the the court to act “unconstitutionally and in contravention of the rule of law by reinterpreting the treaties”.
Brexit: Theresa May ‘I have reached a deal with the EU’
He added: “It cannot be in the interest of the union as a whole to force a member state to leave the union against the wishes of the people.
“The union’s wider interest lies with member states remaining in the EU when their peoples wish to do so.”
A decision won’t taken be taken by the EU’s top court today, which saw 27 of its judges listen to the arguments. The court could take months to deliver a final verdict on the case.
The case was first referred, in September, to the ECJ by the Scotland’s highest court after it was brought by a cross-party group of parliamentarians.
In his judgement, Lord Carloway, Lord President of the Inner House of Edinburgh’s Court of Session, ruled that only the ECJ could answer definitively whether the UK’s notification to quit the EU could be unilaterally revoked.