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canidmajor's avatar

So, what is exactly the deal with Article 50 and Brexit?

Asked by canidmajor (16861points) June 29th, 2016

In light of this article (it’s short, please read) and especially this sentence: “The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.”, I am wondering exactly what is the sequence of events required to either implement or block the effort to leave.
I recognize that this is an Op Ed piece, but it does raise some questions.

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15 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Article 50 is the clause in the European agreement for a country to leave the EU.

In Great Britain, only the Prime Minister, on his own action, may initiate Article 50. Since Cameron said he will leave the initiation of the Article to his successor, it becomes a critical decision point on who Parliament selects as the next Prime Minister.

canidmajor's avatar

That’s what I understood, too, @zenvolo. Why then, are all the reports treating it as a fait accompli? Especially in light of the new “Nooooo, we didn’t know what that meant! We want a do-over!” hysteria?

zenvelo's avatar

It is the same risk that the US Republicans face in trying to thwart Trump. They counter the vote of the people at their peril.

An MP that works to remain from a district that voted leave will run the risk of not being elected at the next election. And, if voters in Britain are truly angry it could get ugly.

canidmajor's avatar

It’s already pretty ugly. Should be an interesting couple of months!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Why will EU banks keep headquarters and operations in London? Won’t they pull out leaving empty shells? Will this hurt London? Which city/country will take up the slack?

On the surface the numbers, i.e. “Britain contributes more than it gets out of the EU so let’s pull out.” make sense. But it is a bit like taxes. I pay more than a homeless, drug addict who sucks up resources. But taxes or no, I will end up paying for his emergency room visits, his treatments, police interactions, court fees, etc. Maybe the best use of my money is actually to collect taxes up front and use them to work on the root cause..

zenvelo's avatar

@LuckyGuy That is already happening. U.S. banks with presence in the City are already preparing big operational moves to Paris and Frankfurt.

The London Stock Exchange/ Deutsche Borse merger was to be headquartered in London, but the EU came out yesterday and said it needs to be domiciled in the EU.

The EU is in the process of finalizing the second iteration of Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), which is a pan Europe securities industry regulatory effort. With Brexit, MiFID II is in danger of not being adopted by the U.K., which would mean Europeans could not invest in British instruments.

The clearing and settlement of securities transactions, all the back office work done with stock trading, will now shift to the Continent, as the EU will not permit clearance by an entity not under their jurisdiction.

Lightlyseared's avatar

There is an argument that before Article 50 can be used the UK would need to repeal the 1972 European Comunities Act as invoking article 50 would be counter to the principles of the act. This would require a vote in parliament and there’s no guarantee that it would succeed.

As for the referendum not being binding – this is one of the benefits of having a constitution based on tradition and dozens of laws written over 100’s of years as opposed to a single document. It makes everything amusingly complicated.

janbb's avatar

From what I’m hearing and reading, it seems to me that the EU is saying “No backsies” in effect so it may be a fait accompli. And if Boris Johnson gets to be PM as a leaver, he will have to keep it in place, I would think.

ucme's avatar

Article 50 can & will only be triggered by the sitting government of the country as & when it sees fit.
Once the conservative party members elect their new leader & the country has a new PM, then the time is right, will be in September, October at the very latest.
Until such time, us brits with working brain cells will keep calm & carry on…as we do.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@janbb the EU leaders can say what they like, article 50 says that it can only be used according to the constitution of the member country… That’s not say the UK won’t but it is going to be more complicated than just posting a form to Brussels

janbb's avatar

@Lightlyseared You are right; I understand that.

zenvelo's avatar

@janbb @Lightlyseared The “no backsies” comment is that the EU has stated that if Article 50 is initiated, then the UK must be aware that they are going down a road of their own choosing, and the EU will not renegotiate for UK membership in the EU on a different basis.

One telling portion of Article 50 is that after two years, if an orderly departure is not negotiated, the EU can unilaterally declare “adios” and call for immediate severance.

Stinley's avatar

But no matter what the EU process is for leaving the EU, what exactly is the UK’s process? This is entirely unclear. We have many pieces of legislation in place which define our part in the EU. Surely this has to be repealed before the UK is in a position constitutionally to invoke Article 50?

olivier5's avatar

Seems to me the Brits are now trying to exit the Brexit…. They should remember Joe Jackson’s wise words.

olivier5's avatar

The situation also reminds me of Forty Years, another of Jackson’s songs:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r6I_wNQucnk

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