Following the defeat last week in the House Of Commons of Theresa May’s “Withdrawal Agreement” (WA), our MPs are now insisting that the “no-deal” Brexit must be “taken off the table”. One soundbite we keep hearing is:
“There is no majority in parliament for a no deal Brexit… “
Ahem, well actually there is.
The invoking of ‘Article 50 of the Treaty Of The European Union’ was carried out after a vote in the House Of Commons on 1st February 2017, where MPs voted 498 in favour, and 114 against, a majority of 384. Quite a significant majority.
I will take this opportunity to quote the actual text of this Article 50, for the benefit of anyone who may not have read it in full:
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.Source: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12012M050
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
I have added my own emphasis to the particular section I would like to draw to the attention of our MPs.
By “treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” this of course means European Union treaties that we are currently bound by as a member of the European Union will no longer apply as we will no longer be a European Union member.
So Article 50 clearly states that “the state in question” (ie the United Kingdom) will leave the European Union either if a withdrawal agreement is made (ie ‘leave with a deal’), or two years after the notification of leaving is made (ie ‘leave with no deal’).
It makes perfect sense to me, but then what do I know, I’m just an ordinary commoner!
So, to those MPs now protesting that there is “no Parliamentary majority for a No-Deal Brexit”, actually there is, because surely they read and understood the wording of Article 50 before they voted in favour of it?
Or is it the case that they “didn’t know what they were voting for?”