2. Informal talks before triggering Article 50

“There is no obligation to invoke [Article 50] immediately after a vote to leave. We are in control of the process,” wrote U.K. Justice Secretary Michael Gove in an essay published by Portland Communications, a consultancy.

There is considerable precedent for EU leaders getting together behind closed-doors to strike a deal: See the Greek crisis. Yet this process is even more woolly than the Article 50 route. Who, for example, would lead negotiations and take charge of the timetable? The lack of a fixed deadline and a legal process would likely result in the negotiations meandering. Impending disaster tends to focus EU minds: Again, see again the Greek crisis.

Generally, Brussels may be unwilling to engage in more of the backroom dealing that has attracted such criticism during the referendum campaign.

Critics could argue Article 50 has been triggered anyway

EU law does not set out a formal process for activating exit negotiations. Opponents could argue the referendum itself was sufficient notification for Article 50’s clock to start ticking.