1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the (European) Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the Council of its intentions. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Nation State concerned unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
This seems to me to be unambiguous.
Paragraph 2 states that the European Union SHALL NEGOTIATE and CONCLUDE an agreement with a withdrawing State after that State has given formal notice to the Council of withdrawing. Such agreement will be concluded by Qualified Majority Voting (QMV).
Paragraph 3 says that the Treaties shall cease to apply from the entering into force of the negotiated withdrawal agreement made in paragraph 2 or two years after formal notification of withdrawal. The period could be extended but only by unanimity which would be unlikely so two years would probably be the maximum period.
Article 4 seems to be the subject of misunderstanding. "For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3" clearly means for the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article 50 ONLY. The withdrawing State shall not, in effect, be a member of the Council when discussions are taking place on its withdrawal agreement.
However, under Paragraph 2, it will be fully involved in the terms of the agreement offered to it. To suggest otherwise is simply incorrect. The words 'negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State' can not have any other meaning or be clearer. The United Kingdom, as, in effect, an Independent Sovereign Nation State will be at the Top Table negotiating its independence but will not not have a vote on the final agreement in the Council. I think it would be safe to assume that we would vote in favour of what we negotiated.
The United Kingdom may withdraw from the European Union. All we need to do is to officially notify the Council of our intention to withdraw to set the clock ticking.
In order to do that we have to instruct the Government that we want to leave the European Union
Vote to Leave the European Union