Last Thursday saw the introduction of the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ or to give it its formal name, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, to the Commons. This bill repeals the European Communities Act 1972, which took the UK into the European Union and enables us to exit the EU with maximum certainty, continuity, and control. It delivers on our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in this country. It also marks an historic step for the nation as we embark upon our departure from formal union with our European friends.
The Repeal Bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that will pass through Parliament and is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal from the European Union. Its first purpose is to ensure, as far as possible, that the same laws and rules will apply on the day after exit as the day before. For businesses, workers and everyone in Norwich, this means they can have confidence that they won’t face unexpected change overnight. So it provides stability on ‘day one’ outside the EU by transferring all EU legislation to which the UK is currently subject into UK law. This is really important, as without this Bill, the UK’s statute book would contain significant gaps, and there’d be uncertainty about the meaning of many existing laws.
Have a look at this paper for more detail, including how we will handle important areas such as consumer protection, workers’ rights and the environment (page 16-17), which I know some constituents are concerned about: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/604514/Great_repeal_bill_white_paper_print.pdf
Parliament will have its say on this important task, through votes on this like on any normal Bill. I shall be voting firmly to support this Bill.
At the same time, the work has begun in earnest to negotiate our future relationship with the EU. Separately, Parliament will also have its say on that deal.
The Great Repeal Bill will not aim to make major changes to policy or establish new legal frameworks in the UK beyond those which are necessary to ensure the law continues to function properly from day one. Therefore, the Government will also introduce a number of further bills during the course of the next two years to ensure we are prepared for our withdrawal – and that Parliament has the fullest possible opportunity to scrutinise this legislation.
After this, and following our exit from the EU, Parliament is in charge of what it wishes to legislate to keep, remove or improve.
I am dedicated to working hard to get this right for the country and my constituents. As always, I will be making the case for what Norwich needs during Brexit. It is what the British people voted for and it is exactly what we will do – ensure that the decisions that affect our lives are taken here in the UK. I have included a letter from David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, which I encourage you to read. In it he sets out the purpose of the bill and addresses any initial concerns people may have.
I’ll keep you informed with more on this site as negotiations progress, and as more information becomes available.