The British government faces a second legal challenge over Brexit; this time concerning whether Britain will automatically leave the single market (which allows the tariff-free movement of goods, services, money and people within the EU) when it leaves the EU.
The government argues that Britain’s EEA (European Economic Area) membership will automatically end when Britain leaves the EU, which is expected to happen by 2019.
However, pro-single market think tank ‘British Influence’ argues that leaving the EU should not automatically mean that Britain exits the EEA, as membership currently extends to non-EU countries such as Norway. British Influence intend to seek a formal judicial review of the government’s position, arguing that departure from the EEA would only happen if Britain formally withdraws by triggering Article 127 of the EEA Agreement; a separate process to the EU departure triggered by Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty.
If Parliament does get to vote on Article 127, MPs could potentially outnumber the government’s small majority and keep Britain inside the single market after Brexit.