The petition calling on the UK government to revoke Article 50 is now at over one million signatures and rising fast, but should Brexiteers be worried?
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As the Withdrawal Agreement lies on the mortuary slab with Theresa May desperately applying Cardiopulmonary resuscitation to its lifeless rigor mortis ridden body, the Remainers are busy trying to put together a campaign to force the government to totally reverse Brexit by revoking the Article 50 letter.
And part of this, is a petition on the government website that, in between site crashes under the strain, has just passed the one million signature mark.
But as Guido Fawkes points out on his order-order blog, foreign actors appear to have hi-jacked the petition with loads of fake signatures.
Now, we all know that Remainers are extremely hot on demanding that even the sniff of wrong-doing in these matters should nullify the vote. So I await the official call by the Revoke Campaign to declare their own petition null and void.
But I wan't be holding my breath.
And when questioned about this poll in the House of Commons, the leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, amusingly said that if it got over 17.4 million signatures, it might warrant a look.
At the moment though, revoking Article 50 is not on the government radar, with both the PM and the Brexit secretary having stated yesterday that there was no intention to do so.
But when and, after Theresa May's speech to the nation last night it will be when, when the PM's deal falls flat on its face either on Monday or Tuesday next week – that's if the Speaker actually allows it to be put to the house – when her deal fails and if the EU also says no to an Article 50 extension, then the calls for her to revoke the Article 50 letter will increase markedly in the deciBel level.
But by that stage we could be into Wednesday with just two days to go to Brexit day. So, even if MPs voted overwhelmingly to revoke the Article 50 letter, what could they do?
As they've found out, their vote alone is not enough to shift statute law.
They would be faced with two problems.
This stems from the need to legally revoke the letter and stop Brexit under both UK law and EU law.
Because if the letter is revoked under EU law, but the Withdrawal Act is not changed, then we leave under UK law because the European Communities Act 1972 would automatically be repealed at 11 pm next Friday the 29th March.
And, if we change UK law to stay but do not revoke or extend Article 50, then we leave under EU law.
And to do all that would, I believe, require a full Act of Parliament.
The Gina Miller case forced the government to use an act of parliament to allow the government to notify the EU that we intended to leave the bloc using the Article 50 process in the first place.
Now the wording of that Act does not seem to even give the government the power to extend the Article 50 process, let alone revoke it completely.
The EU Withdrawal Notification Act is just that – An Act to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
That's it. And please note that the rules on extending Article 50 are under section 50(3)!
So, presumably it would take a similar act to reverse that. And from the first reading of that simply worded Act to Royal Assent took nearly two months of work in the Houses of Commons and Lords as well as a bit of ping pong between the two.
But it wouldn't be that simple to revoke, as the bill would also have to be worded in such a manner as to amend the date in the Withdrawal Act 2018.
Or, would it repeal the Act entirely? And what about the Acts of Parliament that the Withdrawal Act 2018 itself repealed, like:
The European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, which dictates how the UK holds EU elections and where MEPs stand and how many etc. And by the way, if this is not replaced with a new act to allow MEP elections to be called by mid April, then we won't have time to hold them this year if needed – and this could prove to be a stopper for extending article 50 anyway.
Another act that has been repealed is the European Union Act 2011, which forces the UK to have a referendum, if more powers are to be handed over to the EU.
Various EU approvals Acts and the European Union (Finance) Act 2015 were also repealed last year.
The implications of revoking the Article 50 letter and instantly reversing Brexit is an extremely complex constitutional and legislative matter that would have to be carefully scrutinised in great detail line by line – one would think anyway.
But we all know Remainers would not overly worry about such niceties, in their quest to keep their EU security blanket about their shoulders.
And all this may also make a lengthy Article 50 extension virtually impossible.
With Brexit Day only eight days away, these are the sorts of questions I would expect the likes of the BBC to be asking. Although one or two commentators have mentioned that it might be getting too late to stop a no deal, their comments are never followed through on.
But it might explain why Theresa May was today very guarded in her statements and when questioned on events over the next few days, she said that the UK would always be close to the EU.
This fuelled some speculation that she was indeed now hardening towards a no-deal WTO exit and that hardening of attitude may be caused by thoughts that it is now too late to do anything else. It also sparked talk that Theresa May's performance at PMQs yesterday and her subsequent speech to the nation last night indicates that a no deal Brexit might be on the way and this is the start of her trying to lay the blame at everyone else's door.
Especially as it looks like the longest extension she will get from the EU, without committing to EU elections, is the 54 days between the current Brexit Day and the start of those MEP elections on the 23rd May. And that will almost certainly not be anywhere near long enough for her to get that critical EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill through to Royal Assent in time to ratify her now almost extinct deal.
And I don't see MPs signing up to that EU colony scheme any time this side of never.
But there are still some twists and turns to go, so we need to be ready for every eventuality!
Anyway, please let us all know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Thank you for watching.