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I have been following Brexit on the BBC website, for example, this article. They have consistently said it's unlikely that Brexit will be cancelled (at times I think they said "very unlikely"), but given the failure to get the required legislation passed, isn't it the logical outcome, unless there is significant political movement?

Personally, I see little chance of the House of Commons agreeing to an exit deal or to a no-deal exit.

So why does the BBC say it is unlikely? What arguments, if any, have they provided for saying that? Since the first vote on the PM's deal was defeated, I have seen it as the most likely outcome, while admitting I could turn out to be wrong.

Edit:

On checking the latest BBC guide to Brexit, it no longer says revoking article 50 is unlikely. Instead it now says:

The European Court of Justice has ruled that it would be legal for the UK to unilaterally revoke Article 50 to cancel Brexit (without the need for agreement from the other 27 EU countries).

With the government still committed to Brexit, it's very likely that a major event such as a further referendum or change of government would have to happen before such a move.

However, any further delay to Brexit would certainly lead to questions about whether the ultimate destination was going to be a reversal of the 2016 referendum.

It's not totally clear what the process would be. But an act of Parliament calling for Article 50 to be revoked would probably be sufficient.

So there seems to have been a change of tune there.

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    You don't seem to understand: Brexit is the legal default. A cancellation requires either a decision of HMG or parliament: Both are unlikely. – Martin Schröder Apr 6 at 20:18
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    @MartinSchröder The BBC site states: "The European Court of Justice has said the UK could cancel Brexit altogether without the agreement of other nations." So there is no legal obstacle, as I understand it. I do expect further prevarication, but ultimately cancellation seems the logical and likely outcome to me. – George Barwood Apr 6 at 20:24
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    @GeorgeBarwood "The UK" can cancel the deal, sure. But who is "the UK"? its either the government or the parliament who can represent "the UK" in this matter. Thus we are back to square one, "the UK" needs to change its own laws, specifically the Withdrawal Act, which currently states the UK withdraws. Unless there is a majority found for any other solution, that law stays. – Polygnome Apr 6 at 20:57
  • @MartinSchröder the political default however, has switched from "the UK exits on $day" to "the UK requests an extension because $day approaches". And that's de-facto "the UK stays" – Caleth Apr 10 at 16:06
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Absent action from the House of Commons, the UK will leave the EU at 23:00 BST on 12 April, regardless of whether or not the Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified. That, as per both Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union and the EU Withdrawal Act (2018), are the legal default positions as of this writing.

The House has voted on numerous occasions that it doesn't want a "No-Deal Brexit", but it hasn't voted on anything that would stop that from being the default legal position. They would need to, for example, pass a bill to authorize a second referendum, or to repeal the EU Withdrawal Act (2018). It does not seem that there is a majority in the House to do either of these things.

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    My understanding is the PM has the power to revoke article 50, as leaving with no deal is not government policy ( nor does it have parliamentary support ) that would happen if a delay was not granted by the EU, but in the short term it seems much more likely there will be further delays. – George Barwood Apr 6 at 21:47
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    I don't believe that to be the case. The EU Withdrawal Act would, at minimum, need to be repealed (I'm not certain whether an Article 50 revocation can happen beforehand, but I doubt it). Further, as Parliament was required to give consent to the triggering of Article 50 in the first place (see the Gina Miller case), it can be assumed that the same consent must be given for a revocation. – Joe C Apr 6 at 21:54
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    (Caveat: I am not an expert in constitutional law, and am happy to be corrected by anyone who is.) – Joe C Apr 6 at 21:55
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    "Second, a revocation could be done under the royal prerogative. This would be consistent with the judgment of the Supreme Court in Miller, as the basis of the majority decision was that legislation was required for the fundamental change of an entire source of law (that is, EU law) being removed from domestic law. But revocation would not be making any such fundamental change; instead it would be keeping a source of law, not removing it." – niemiro Apr 7 at 13:27
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    "Absent any action" so far the only thing that has happened with any predictability with regards to brexit is that the can has been kicked down the road. Continued kicking seems more likely than no deal at this point. – Jontia Apr 7 at 13:53
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Yes, on the 5th of April, the BBC published an article: Brexit: What happens now? in which it explains the no Brexit option (as well as many others). In particular relating to your question, they wrote the following on the 'no Brexit' option:

With the government still committed to Brexit, it's very likely that a major event such as a further referendum or change of government would have to happen before such a move.

However, any further delay to Brexit would certainly lead to questions about whether the ultimate destination was going to be a reversal of the 2016 referendum.

It's not totally clear what the process would be. But an act of Parliament calling for Article 50 to be revoked would probably be sufficient.

Indeed, given how the situation has taken so much time and how it's such a big part of the agenda now, it would certainly be anticlimactic to see that was all for nothing.

Imagine you made a mistake and someone mentioned it. Then you have a choice, you either admit the mistake or you double down on your original action. In this case, it's not easy to admit the mistake (or reverse your course of action, or whatever you want to call it) because those arguing for and acting towards a Brexit have been very passionately about it. To make a U-turn now would damage their credibility very much. Indeed there's almost no new information, if they wanted to back out of their position because they realised they're at an impasse they could've done so months ago.

In sociology (but also in some cultures), this problem the politicians find themselves in is called losing face. It's a bit too broad to explain here, but the linked Wikipedia article has a lot of information on it looking at it from different cultures and academic fields.

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    I agree that it's hard for politicians to admit defeat, but shouldn't the BBC be objective ( or perhaps simply refrain from making judgements on what is or is not likely altogether )? The BBC are not meant to be cheerleaders for the government. – George Barwood Apr 7 at 5:58
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    @GeorgeBarwood to be completely objective they could only report 'dull' facts. To better inform readers they make analyses and that inevitably gets a bit more subjective. In this case I don't see it as cheerleading for the government, if anything it boils down to reporting on the government's failure to reach a deal or otherwise resolve the issue. Remember when they (the Conservative manifesto on which May stood) said 'no deal is better than a bad deal'? – JJJ Apr 7 at 12:13
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The first paragraph of this question seems to be predicated on the false assumption that Brexit will not occur without further action ("but given the failure to get the required legislation passed..."), while the article linked to says the opposite: "The current default position - ie, if nothing changes - is for the UK to leave without a deal on 12 April" - which, at least at the time of publication, appears to be correct (and I am not aware of any development that has changed that.)

That article sets out the options available at the time, but is generally free of speculation about which is more likely. One place it does is here: "The European Court of Justice has said the UK could cancel Brexit altogether without the agreement of other nations, but politically, that's not likely to happen." [my emphasis]. If, however, you follow the link from that sentence, you will find that the British government opposed the question even being raised at the ECJ. That is an objective basis for an argument that the British government is unlikely to act on the ruling, whether you like it or not.

More generally, the existence of an option does not, by itself, invalidate arguments that it is not likely to be taken. Similarly, subsequent events do not retroactively invalidate arguments that were reasonable at the time they were made.

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    The PM stated today ( bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47842572 ) "Getting a majority of MPs to back a Brexit deal was the only way for the UK to leave the EU, Mrs May said. "The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all." which implies to me there won't be a "no-deal" exit, at least in the near future. If a person is standing on some rail tracks, and a high speed train is approaching, then yes, if they do nothing, they will die. But normally they will move out of the way. We didn't leave on March 29, right? – George Barwood Apr 7 at 16:20
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    @GeorgeBarwood : You are, of course, entitled to your opinions, but you appear to have trouble distinguishing between facts and opinions (here you are arguing against an objective statement of facts as they stand with an opinion about how it will play out), and if you are trying to have people agree that your opinions are better than others, stack exchange is the wrong place to do it. Nominally, your question is about the arguments behind the (mildly) speculative statements made by the BBC, and that is what I have addressed here. – sdenham Apr 7 at 16:33
  • "you will find that the British government opposed the question even being raised at the ECJ" That is an objective basis for believing that the government don't want article 50 to be revoked, but sometimes governments do not get what they want, and I submit that the facts taken overall (including the various votes that have happened) point to exactly the opposite of the BBC's opinion. My question was genuine : I don't understand why the BBC said it was very unlikely, then unlikely ( and now... no opinion on likelihood ). – George Barwood Apr 7 at 18:13
  • @GeorgeBarwood Firstly, you seem to think that an objective reason ceases to be objective when you respond to it with an opinion, but that is not how it works. Secondly, you seem to think that there is something odd about the BBC changing its estimation of the outcome in response to changing circumstances - is that perhaps because it is not something you do? Thirdly, all your responses to everyone here seems to be "I think my opinion is better than yours", which is irrelevant to the question you asked. Finally, the first paragraph of your question is still predicated on a false premise. – sdenham Apr 8 at 0:59

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