LONDON — Parliament will have to pass up to 13 controversial bills before Britain exits the European Union, according to a leaked Whitehall list of legislation seen by the Times.
Each law — which covers immigration, tax, agriculture, trade, fisheries, data protection, and sanctions — will have to be approved by a majority in parliament, which is likely to test the Conservatives’ slim majority of 17 and give MPs a remit to try and influence the terms of Brexit.
On top of the minimum seven bills that must be passed, the leaked document stated that a further six bills may be necessary, covering issues including EU migrant benefits, nuclear safeguards, and the transfer of existing EU funds to various departments.
The government intends to introduce a “Great Repeal Bill” in May, which will wrap all existing EU law into domestic law after Brexit. However, separate legislation will be required for certain topics which are deemed too important to be wrapped into a single bill.
That could make Prime Minister Theresa May’s two-year timetable significantly more difficult, with migration and agriculture expected to be particularly divisive topics within the Conservative party.
On Monday evening the prime minister was given the power to trigger Article 50 — the two-year formal process by which Britain will leave the EU — after both houses of parliament voted to pass the Brexit bill unamended, and she is expected to trigger it at the end of March.
Downing Street is reportedly “concerned” by the number of bills being requested, and is trying to convince departments to make reductions.
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