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A clear and decisive majority — though not a large majority — voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. And the following day, Friday 24th Junesomething perhaps just as significant did not happen.
There are other theoretical means — which would mean effectively the UK unilaterally renouncing its treaty obligations — but as the UK wants to be taken seriously in future treaty making, such approaches would lose credibility. And so unless and until the Article 50 process is commenced and completed, the UK will stay as a member of the EU.
It is worth taking a moment to read Article 50, as the detail of its provisions will shape what if anything happens next: Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
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 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.
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.
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 3 b of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article You will see from Article 50 1 that it is for the Member State to make the notification.
And it is entirely a matter for the Member State to choose whether to make the notification and, if so, when. In my view, it could mean the Prime Minister simply making the notification as an exercise of the prerogative, following the referendum result.
Or it could mean a prior parliamentary vote.
But in either case, it is a matter for the UK. If it is a notification which can be made by a Prime Minister once the referendum vote result was known, then it was a notification which could have been sent yesterday. That such a speedy notification would be made was certainly the impression David Cameron sought to give when the referendum was announced back in February: Then there is the legality.
I want to spell out this point very carefully. If the British people vote to leave there is only one way to bring that about — and that is to trigger Article 50 of the Treaties and begin the process of exit.
And the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away.Here’s how to do it. And so instead of trying to resolve the tension, I let it hang: [If the owner] ever decides to put up a new Big Bar in the Sky, it will have to be somebody. Brian A.
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