Five ways Brexit could be stopped

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 28 June 2016 11:30
Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

1. We hold a second referendum

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt appeared on Sky News on Tuesday morning calling for a second referendum, with different exit terms.

Considering there will be a new prime minister by September, this is technically possible: if the new occupant of Number 10 isn't Boris Johnson, there's arguably a mandate to turn over the decision, and if it is Johnson, a general election is more likely, which will undoubtedly put the matter up for discussion again in party manifestos.

Hunt has made it clear he's up for the top job, at least.

2. We disregard the referendum as just advisory

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has called on parliament to "stop this madness" by refusing to recognise the results of the referendum.

Bring this nightmare to an end... Our sovereign Parliament needs to now vote on whether we should exit the EU.

The referendum was was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The Leave campaign's platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn't voted to Leave.

There's some precedent for this in several other member states:

3. Scotland or Northern Ireland veto it

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday that Scotland would like to stay in both the United Kingdom and the European Union and she would consider vetoing the Brexit ruling to stop Scotland being taken out against its will.

EU law is implemented directly by the Scottish and Welsh governments, rather than Westminster, so some constitutional experts have said Scotland could have a final say on any move from London which is incompatible with EU law.

But since the UK is obviously sovereign, if it came to the courts, Westminster would probably win.

Sturgeon probably knows this - but hey, she's made her position clear.

4. We take our time triggering Article 50

From the way Boris Johnson equivocated in his column in the Telegraph yesterday you'd be forgiven for thinking he didn't want to leave the EU at all.

Every single Brexiteer - as well as David Cameron and George Osborne - has stressed that there is no rush to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which is the official process by which a member state can exit the EU.

While the sense in the European Parliament is that we should just get on with it, diplomats don't really expect anything to get finished before 2019, which is a natural deadline because there is a fresh round of European Parliament elections.

The long grass is so lush and inviting.

5. We go for a compromise

Those looking for a glass half-full option want the UK's exit from the EU to emulate something more like the Norwegian or Swiss model, where the UK would stay in the European Economic Area and the single market, and also keep freedom of movement.

Jeremy Hunt, among others, want a 'Norway plus' deal, where the UK retains control of its borders. This offer is not currently on the table from the EU, nor did Vote Leave talk about it before they won the referendum.

And the best part about a compromise of course is that it's unlikely to satisfy anyone, whether you voted Leave or Remain.

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