Article 50 is the name of the game, This is the thing that will allow the UK to leave the EU. When this is activated they have a two year countdown in which to make deals with the EU for Trade and other things before they break from the EU.

Alot of information will be taken from here for this post

So what is Article 50?

It is the exit procedure for a member state to exit the European Union. It’s vague on the information in regards to it, the policy itself is only about 250 words. Implication from it is that you can delay activating Article 50 to unofficially do negotiations and then activate it when both sides are relatively happy.

That’s the theory anyway with the vague writing but it’s not the case for the UK. The EU has apparently agreed that there will be no pre-negotiations before the activation of Article 50 and that it will only start negotiations when we activate it.

So why haven’t we activated it?

David Cameron handed in his resignation. He has refused to pull the trigger on the situation because he does not believe he is the right person to do so. After all he backed the Remain party. So he handed in his notice and until the new Prime Minister is elected the trigger will not be pulled.

Any other ways that the UK can exit the EU?

There has been mention of ignoring article 50 but everything seems to indicate that you cannot just dissolve the 1972 law that brought us into the EU without breaking International Law

“Is Article 50 the only means of withdrawing from the EU?
Within the wider debate on EU membership it has been suggested that the
UK could withdraw from the EU without reference to Article 50, for example
by repealing the European Communities Act 1972, which gives domestic
effect to EU law. We asked our witnesses whether this would be possible.
Both told us that Article 50 provided the only means of withdrawing from
the EU consistent with the UK’s obligations under international law.
A Member State could not fall back on the Vienna Convention on the Law
of Treaties to avoid the withdrawal procedures in Article 50, because the
Vienna Convention had to be read in the light of the specific procedures for
treaty change laid down in the EU Treaties.”
So in theory, no it can’t be done except through article 50.
Will the New PM will just pull the trigger when they’re in office?
In theory they could just do that, it depends on how the ruling of Article 50 comes into play.
“1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”
For this situation coming into effect, does the PM have the authority to unilaterally decide this decision? It depends on interpretation. If they decide he does not, the PM must take it infront of the House of Parliament and they must vote on it.
But we had a referendum!! Leave Won, doesn’t that mean anything?
In theory no. The Referendum was not legally binding. A referendum is more in line with an opinion poll, the Government can follow it and usually they do. HOWEVER, they can choose to ignore it. This is why the UK Government is usually hesitant to do referendums, having done only three. Ironically enough the first of the three was about the EU and joining it.
So what can stop it or cause it to happen?
Our own parliament can step in and stop it if they do not think it’s to the best interest of our country. But at the same time, it could be that they do nothing to prevent it
“The Prime Minster did not specify the legal authority under which he believed he or his successors might invoke Article 50, but the typical answer will be obvious to constitutional lawyers: it is the royal prerogative, a collection of executive powers held by the Crown since medieval times, that exist unsupported by statute.  The Prerogative is widely used in foreign affairs, which Parliament has largely left in the hands of the Government. The treaty-making prerogative of the Crown is one such area.”
So do Parliament have the right to step in with regards to the situation? I don’t know. In theory they should be involved with making the decision this big. It is too much for one man to make. At least in my view, even the leader of a nation.
“It might be thought that this gives rise to something of a constitutional chicken and egg dilemma: how can Parliament legislate to take the UK out of the EU before the exit negotiations are complete? There is in fact a straightforward answer to this apparent conundrum.  Before an Article 50 declaration can be issued, Parliament must enact a statute empowering or requiring the Prime Minister to issue notice under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, and empowering the Government to make such changes to statutes as are necessary to bring about our exit from the European Union.Is this a mere formality? The political reality might be “yes”. Parliament might consider that following the referendum it must pass a statute in these terms. But the answer in constitutional terms is “no”. As a matter of constitutional law, Parliament is not bound to follow the results of the Brexit referendum when deliberating this legislation.  A number of options are constitutionally open to Parliament.

First, it could decide not to grant this power at all.  As some of the core claims made by the leave campaign unravel, Parliament might decide that the case for Brexit has not been made – or was gained under a false prospectus.  As Edmund Burke taught us, ours is a representative, not a direct, democracy.  Those representatives whose consciences required them to reject the referendum vote would have to justify themselves to their electorates at the next General Election – an event that is likely to arrive quite soon.  We should make clear that we take no position as to whether Parliament should adopt such a course, but it is undoubtedly open to Parliament as a matter of constitutional law. Parliament is, after all, sovereign.

Secondly, Parliament could conclude that it would be contrary to the national interest to invoke Article 50 whilst it is in the dark about what the key essentials of the new relationship with the EU are going to be, and without knowing what terms the EU is going to offer. Parliament might well conclude that to require the Government to issue the notice immediately would be contrary to the national interest, even if Parliament is committed to leaving the EU, because the legal structure of Article 50 would place the UK at a seriously disadvantageous position in negotiating acceptable terms. Surely, Parliament is unlikely to require the Government to issue notice under Article 50 if it considers that the Government might be forced to accept exit terms which do not protect key aspects of our economy. Parliament may therefore require the Government to engage in extensive informal negotiations or even to seek to negotiate exit from the UK by formal Treaty amendments rather than through the Article 50 process.”


Like they say, Chicken and Egg situation. Doubly so if the EU keeps to their words in regards to not negotiating before hand. It’s up to Parliament to decide it seems. I’m curious as to how this will fall.


As an additional note, i did not anticipate finding law and politics so interesting. I’m actually really tempted to look into an Open University course in regards to Law or politics to study more.

Something i may need to think about.