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Never Too Late to Change Stance Over Brexit, EU Chief Urges Britain to Rethink

The European Union has cranked up the pressure on Britain to rethink its stance on leaving the bloc by insisting it was not too late to change its decision on effectively becoming a "third country" - as a group of UK MPs prepare to force prime minister Theresa May into revealing the country's legal position over reversing Article 50 to quit.

In a speech to the European parliament on January 16, EU president Donald Tusk called for greater clarity over Britain's vision for life outside the bloc and its impending future relationship with the other states after Brexit comes into force in March, 2019.

He insisted, however, it was still not too late for the British to have a change of heart and reverse its decision taken after a referendum in 2016 to remain within the European family.

His call for Britain to change its mind was immediately rebuked by Tory Brexiteers who described the suggestion as "absurd". Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for Harwich and North Essex, said: "Nobody serious wants another referendum in this country on this question."  

Yet it comes only days after one key Brexit figure, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, hinted a second referendum could be held to settle the issue once and for all after growing calls for Britain to step back from the brink and risk a possible economic catastrophe.

Hard Work Lies Ahead

Insisting on more clarity from the UK, Mr. Tusk said the leaders of the remaining European states will meet and decide on the way it sees its future relationship with Britain as a third country.

He warned the "hardest work" still lies ahead with time fast running out."We must maintain the unity of the EU27 in every scenario, and personally I have no doubt that we will. If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality — with all its negative consequences — in March next year. Unless there is a change of heart among our British friends," the president said.

"Wasn't it David Davis himself who said: 'If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.' We, here on the continent, haven't had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open to you." added Mr. Tusk.


The suggestion was promptly kicked out the park by Leave campaigners who demanded the result of the national referendum be adhered too. Mr. Jenkin dismissed the idea, arguing the British government would not want to ignore the decision to leave. "The referendum was won by the leave campaign against the odds and against the expectation because nobody could find anything good to say about the European Union during the campaign. All we had was fear from the government about what would go wrong if we choose to leave," he said.

The MP continued: "Most of those fears have not been realised. We were meant to have 500,000 more unemployed, we were meant to be in recession by now. That has not happened. Most countries aren't in the EU and they're fine."

His comments came as Pro-EU MPs attempt to force the UK government to reveal its legal advice on whether article 50 could be reversed, potentially allowing Britain to withdraw from the Brexit process.

A cross-party group of around 20 backbenchers will next week attempt to pass an amendment to force the prime minister to reveal its advice when the EU withdrawal bill returns for debate in the House of Commons.

The British government has previously refused to say what legal advice its lawyers have intimated regarding this issue despite some suggestions that it can, in fact, be overturned.

Chris Leslie, the former shadow chancellor, said: "This amendment is designed to provide transparency, so that MPs and our constituents know all the facts about article 50. If the government have been told that the article 50 notification can legally be revoked, they should be upfront with the public about it."

The latest development have, of course, stirred up plenty of reaction on social media with a huge division of views on whether Britain will press ahead with its exit from the European bloc, or decide to remain as part of the family.

Many people in the UK remain sceptical whether Britain can still step back from the brink, even at this stage in the negotiations, while others insist the referendum decision must stand.

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