The official process of breaking away from the European Union cannot be reversed once it has begun, a UK minister has said on Sunday.
Although the UK has voted in a referendum to leave the EU, no formal secession moves has been initiated as of yet and as such, its decision could still be revisited.
However, Prime Minister Theresa May says she will invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty by the end of March, beginning two years of formal divorce talks.
According to the Minister, once the Article 50 is invoked, there would be no going back on the decision of UK to leave the EU.
Lawyers for the government have said that, once started, the process is irrevocable, but some EU leaders say Britain can change its mind and a legal challenge to determine whether it can be reversed has been filed with an Irish court.
“People can take cases to court. My understanding is it is irrevocable and when we press the button that will go forward,” Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss said.
Brexit has faced a number of hurdles, most recent being a Supreme Court’s recent ruling directing Prime Minister, May to seek parliament’s approval before initiating full Brexit.
The UK’s highest judicial body dismissed the government’s argument that May could simply use executive powers known as “royal prerogative” to invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty and begin two years of divorce talks.
However, the court rejected arguments that the UK’s devolved assemblies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should give their assent before Article 50 is invoked.
“The referendum is of great political significance, but the Act of Parliament which established it did not say what should happen as a result,” said David Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court which ruled by 8-3 against the government.
“So any change in the law to give effect to the referendum must be made in the only way permitted by the UK constitution, namely by an Act of Parliament.”
May has repeatedly said she would trigger Article 50 before the end of March but she will now have to seek the consent of lawmakers first, potentially meaning her plans could be amended or delayed, although the main opposition Labour Party has said it would not slow her timetable.
Also, former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he would challenge UK’s commitment to the secession from EU.
Blair campaigned for the Remain camp in the lead-up to the referendum in June, which showed a majority of the British public in favour of leaving the EU.
According to the speech, he delivered in Londaon, Blair is set to argue however that the people voted without knowing “the true terms of Brexit.”