Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on June 23 shocked the global financial markets, triggered widespread fears about the future of pan-European integration. However, developments since that fateful night have led many observers to conclude that Brexit might not actually happen.
Back in October, British Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her schedule for a “hard Brexit.” Under this timeline, Britain would formally notify Brussels of its intent to leave the EU by the end of March.
“Let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European court of justice,” May said in speech on October 2.
Her comments triggered another collapse of the British pound, which fell to a 168-year low against a basket of currencies.
One month later, Britain’s High Court threw a wrench in May’s plan by ruling that Brexit cannot actually happen without parliamentary assent. That means May’s administration won’t be able to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without parliament’s approval. While the prime minister has vowed to appeal the decision, many experts believe she won’t get very far.
At the very least, the High Court ruling suggests Brexit may be delayed several years as MPs weigh the pros and cons of leaving the single market. The longer MPs spend fighting over Brexit, the weaker Britain’s negotiating hand will be should May finally be allowed to trigger on Article 50.
Even if May is successful in triggering Article 50, analysts argue it may be revoked at any time depending on the outcome of the trade negotiations. A bad trade deal that costs the United Kingdom jobs and economic growth would be highly scrutinized by MPs, which …