UK ministers to use Great Repeal Bill powers to make 1,000 'corrections' to EU laws post-Brexit

  • Government publishes White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill.
  • Bill will allow ministers to make sweeping changes to EU laws.
  • An estimated 1,000 changes could be made to laws without approval of MPs.
  • Davis insists laws need to be “put right.”

LONDON — The government is to make an estimated 1,000 changes to EU legislation brought back into UK law without first seeking any vote in Parliament, ministers have confirmed.

Brexit secretary David Davis will set out his plans today to transpose EU law back into the UK as part of the Great Repeal Bill.

However he will also confirm that the law will allow ministers sweeping powers to sidestep parliament in order to “correct” European laws without first seeking the approval of MPs.

Davis told Sky News that there were areas of EU law that needed to be “put right.”

“We won’t want to change everything,” he said. “There are lots of parts of EU law that we approve of, that are good, but there will be some things we want to put right.”

Davis will today publish a White Paper on the bill, titled “Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.”

Under the bill, ministers will repeal the European Communities Act and then transpose all existing EU law into domestic law, before amending and repealing it.

An estimated 1,000 changes will be made to the laws through ministerial powers called “statutory instruments” which are designed to sidestep parliament in order to make minor technical changes to laws.

This is roughly the same amount of statutory instruments as used in the entirety of each of the previous two parliaments.

The government’s opponents have warned that the powers will be abused to remove whole swathes of protections currently guaranteed under EU law.

However, ministers insist that all significant changes will be put to a vote.

Davis told Sky News today that MPs would be asked to vote on new bills on immigration and customs over the coming months.

“At the heart of the referendum decision was sovereignty. A strong, independent country needs control of its own laws. That process starts now,” Davis said in a statement.

“Converting EU law into UK law, and ending the supremacy of lawmakers in Brussels, is an important step in giving businesses, workers and consumers the certainty they need.

“And it will mean that as we seek a comprehensive new economic partnership with the EU, our allies will know that we start from a position where we have the same standards and rules.”

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