Is Theresa May about to revoke Article 50?

PUBLISHED: 10:48 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 08 April 2019

Theresa May defending her decision to hold cross-party talks with Labour in a video message filmed at her Chequers country retreat.  Photograph: Downing Street/PA Wire.

Theresa May defending her decision to hold cross-party talks with Labour in a video message filmed at her Chequers country retreat. Photograph: Downing Street/PA Wire.

Political commentator Robert Peston thinks that Theresa May could be considering plans to revoke Article 50.

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With the risk of the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union at the end of the week now heightened by some talk of EU leaders being against another Article 50 extension, there appears to be little effort to ramp up no-deal Brexit plans.

As ITV’s Robert Peston points out, in Theresa May’s latest video, she has already suggested the choice now facing MPs is between her deal or not leaving at all.

That would indicate that a no-deal Brexit is no longer on the table and that, if she cannot get an extension agreed by every EU leader, revoking Article 50 is the only option... despite pledging not to.

Peston says: “So have she [May] and Whitehall, who are persuaded (rightly or wrongly) that no-deal on 12 April would be a catastrophe (especially for the integrity of UK), made a huge emotional leap to prepare for the political (if not economic) explosion of cancelling Brexit this week - in that there remains a serious risk that the EU will not grant the UK an extension or an extension on acceptable terms.”

He adds in his blog: “As I understand it, from government sources, there is no intensifying of no-deal preparations on Monday (the famous Operation Yellowhammer), which there really ought to be if there was any serious prospect of the UK leaving without a deal in just a few days.”

He continues: “The prime minister plainly wants to avoid it. The question I am posing is whether she now sees Brexit cancellation as preferable to a no-deal at the end of this week.”

He believes that although revoking Article 50 is not the prime minister’s preferred way out of the Brexit mess facing the country, MPs could “instruct her in a non-binding way” to do it to make the decision more palpable.

But he explains: “If right at the last, the UK performs the volte face of volte faces and cancels Brexit, that would be her responsibility and her legacy, no one else’s - for which many in her own party would vilify her, and many outside would cast her as the lost hero returned.”

Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey claimed on The Andrew Marr Show that the party would look “very, very strongly” at the option of revoking Article 50 to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

More than six million people have signed a petition calling for the government to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50.

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