Government launches Brexit repeal bill amid fierce opposition
(ShareCast News) - The government has published the 'great repeal bill' to convert the European Union's laws into British law, which is designed to provide legal continuity after separation from the bloc is completed in 2019 and to give parliament the power to make changes.
Brexit Secretary David Davis launched the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on Thursday morning and, with opposition parties and several fellow Conservative MPs already stating the need for many amendments, said he will "work with anyone" to make the bill a success.
The bill's first aim is to repeal the European Communities Act, removing the supremacy of EU law and re-interpreting it into UK law without the need to create new laws, meaning the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before.
However, the bill would give the government new powers to alter up to 1,000 different regulations for up to two years, known as 'Henry VIII powers'.
This is highly controversial, not least being criticised as a "power grab" and for allowing the government to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny.
Davis said the bill was designed to the UK can exit the EU "with maximum certainty, continuity and control".
He added: "It is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through Parliament and is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal from the European Union.
"By working together, in the national interest, we can ensure we have a fully functioning legal system on the day we leave the European Union."
But with the bill including a clause that removes the charter of fundamental rights from being part of domestic law on or after exit day, both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have already the removal of this clause a priority of their voting for the bill, along with several other amendments from workers' rights to the environment.
Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Kier Starmer has demanded concessions in six areas, including incorporating the charter into UK law, ensuring workers' rights in the UK do not fall behind those in the EU, and limiting the scope of the Henry VIII powers.
LibDem leader Tim Farron said: "The charter of fundamental rights is a cornerstone of what makes Britain what we are. I cannot understand what issue the government have with it.
"Is it the right to life, the ban on torture, protection against slavery, the right to a fair trial, respect for privacy, freedom of thought and religion, free speech and peaceful protest? These are not frustrations, these are integral to what it is to be British."