The Government has today published a White Paper detailing its plans for the Great Repeal Bill, the piece of legislation which will ensure the UK has a functioning statute book once it has left the EU. In a foreword to the White Paper, David Davis, the Government’s Brexit Secretary, states that the Bill “is not a vehicle for policy changes – but it will give the Government the necessary power to correct or remove the laws that would otherwise not function properly” once the UK leaves the EU.
Davis told MPs in a speech to Parliament today that the Bill will allow businesses to continue operating on the day Brexit occurs with the knowledge the rules have not changed overnight. The Government will transpose all of the EU’s laws into UK law – this will involve thousands of pieces of EU legislation including laws on workers’ rights and the environment. Once EU law has been transposed into the UK’s domestic statute book, Parliament will then be able to pass legislation to amend or repeal any piece of EU law it chooses. In a closing comment to his foreword to the White Paper, Davis notes “As we bring powers back from Brussels, we will put them into the hands of democratically elected representatives in the United Kingdom”.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, criticised the Bill arguing it gave “sweeping” powers to the Government to change regulations as it “proposes a power to use a delegated legislation to correct and thus change primary legislation, and also devolved legislation”.