The EU Repeal Bill Debate
Last night Parliament voted in favour of moving the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill onto the Committee Stage. I spoke in the debate before voting against the Bill. You can watch my speech here.
I accept and respect the result of last year’s referendum and believe that the Government must now secure a good Brexit deal to safeguard jobs, security, and rights and protections. The Bill will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and convert EU law into UK law so that there is certainty from the moment we leave the EU. This will then allow Parliament to repeal, amend or replace any EU-derived laws as necessary in the future. I do not underestimate this task and it is important that the Government get this vital legislation right.
However, in my view, the Government’s Bill as it stands now is not fit for purpose. Without significant changes in several areas of concern, I was unable to vote for the Bill last night.
Specifically, there are sweeping powers outlined in the Bill that allow Ministers to make changes to other laws. I believe these are powers that require effective oversight or accountability. However, such safeguards are currently lacking from the Bill. The Bill also lacks clear enforcement mechanisms.