United Kingdom can unilaterally end Brexit, EU top court indicates

But her chances of winning majority backing for the deal look slim.

The court is assessing the issue under an accelerated procedure, since Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29. Rejecting it would leave the United Kingdom facing the prospect of a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit, but May's chances of winning majority backing for the deal appear slim.

"If the CJEU judgment does follow the advocate general's approach, it would confirm that the United Kingdom government has the option of revoking unilaterally the UK's Article 50 notification before 29 March 2019, with the effect that the United Kingdom would continue as an European Union member state on current terms".

The advice of the advocate general is often, but not always, followed by the full court.

The growing chance of averting Brexit altogether - potentially via a second referendum - has led some investors to start pricing out the prospect of a damaging "no deal" departure from the European Union, analysts said, lifting sterling.

While Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona's opinion is purely advisory, the Luxembourg-based court usually follows such advice.

Lawmakers are voting on a motion that could find the government in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the full guidance from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

The comments raised expectations the Labour party could back putting Brexit to a second vote though it is unclear what impact such a prospect would have on sterling.

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The case was referred to the CJEU by a Scottish court after a group of MPs, MSPs and MEPs asked it to consider the legality of a unilateral revocation of Article 50.

In order to revoke Article 50, the opinion says the United Kingdom would have to formally notify the European Council, respect national constitutional requirements - which in the United Kingdom would mean an act of parliament, and finally the revocation would have to take place within the two-year period since Article 50 was triggered.

Debate over the Brexit deal, which has been widely criticised across Britain's political spectrum, will begin in the United Kingdom parliament's lower chamber House of Commons on Tuesday. Mrs May's surrender document will not pass a House of Commons vote, and the obvious result of that would be for a "no deal" Brexit.

Britain invoked the article on March 29, 2017 after voters backed Brexit in a national referendum the year before.

British government lawyers argued in an European Union court hearing last month that the case was inadmissible because the United Kingdom had no intention to revoke its decision.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Tuesday that British consumers could see their weekly supermarket bills up by 10 percent in a worst-case Brexit scenario that involves a 25 percent fall in the value of the pound.

The court opinion was welcomed by Jo Maugham, a lawyer on the Scottish plaintiffs' side, who told the Financial Times, a British newspaper, that it "puts the decision about our future back into the hands of our own representatives - where it belongs".

The EU's governing European Commission and European Council oppose unilateral revocation, arguing it requires unanimous agreement of the 27 remaining members of the bloc.

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