The British government today said thousands of European Union laws on everything from workers’ rights to the environment will be scrapped or replaced with UK equivalents to provide “clarity and certainty” to the people on the country’s plans after exiting the economic bloc.
Unveiling the government’s white paper on the “Great Repeal Bill”, Brexit secretary David Davis told the House of Commons that as well as transposing aspects of EU legislation into UK law, the bill would create a new power to “correct the statute book”.
Davis said that the bill will provide “clarity and certainty” on the country’s plans, a day after Prime Minister Theresa May formally invoked Article 50 to begin the countdown to Britain’s exit from the 28-member economic bloc.
“We have been clear that we want a smooth and orderly exit, and the Great Repeal Bill is integral to that approach. It will provide clarity and certainty for businesses, workers and consumers across the United Kingdom on the day we leave the EU,” David told MPs today.
“It will mean that as we exit the EU and seek a new deep and special partnership with the European Union, we will be doing so from the position where we have the same standards and rules.
“But it will also ensure that we deliver on our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK as we exit. Our laws will then be made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and interpreted not by judges in Luxembourg but by judges across the United Kingdom,” he added.
The process of repealing the laws involves a so-called “copy-paste” exercise to ensure that all EU laws are incorporated into UK law to avoid a legal blackhole.
Workers rights, environmental protection and consumer rights currently enshrined in EU laws would continue as before when Britain left. But the UK Parliament, and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, would then be able to amend or scrap these laws without EU consent.
Davis, who will be Britain’s chief negotiator in Brussels during the two-year negotiation process, said the rights of British expats would be the first priority in Brexit talks.
He said Britain had a “moral duty” to end the uncertainty facing Britons living in the EU - and EU citizens living in the UK - as it was not their fault that Britain had voted to leave.
The Great Repeal Bill is a crucial aspect of Brexit and will go through the parliamentary process as negotiations begin.