Tories abandon post-Brexit ‘bonfire’ of EU laws in ‘humiliating’ U-turn
Ministers have scrapped their promise for a post-Brexit ‘bonfire’ of EU-era laws by the end of this year.
Introduced under Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill had aimed to automatically remove any remaining EU laws unless they were explicitly chosen to be saved.
But the government has now abandoned its plans. Kemi Badenoch, the business and trade secretary, has now revealed fewer than 600 laws will be revoked – not 4,000 as originally pledged.
In a statement, she said the change would be made through an amendment when the bill returns to Parliament next week.
Though a flagship policy for hardline Brexiteers, campaigners have welcomed the announcement.
Critics of the bill were concerned that it could lead to important legislation falling away by accident.
Lubna Shuja, president of the Law Society, said this would ‘provide some certainty for businesses, lawyers and citizens alike’.
‘The government’s decision to remove the sunset clause and replace it with a list of the retained EU laws that it intends should fall away at the end of 2023 is the right decision,’ she said.
‘We await the list being published. It is essential there is sufficient time to review affected legislation and consider the repercussions in all areas of law.’
Labour has now urged Ms Badenoch to apologise after the ‘humiliating’ U-turn.
Shadow business minister Justin Madders told the Commons: ‘It was completely unrealistic, reckless and, frankly, arrogant to think you could strike 4,000 laws from the statute book in the timescale set out in the Bill.
‘It’s no use blaming the blob or the anti-growth coalition or the BBC. This is completely down to government hubris that has found itself crashing up against the reality.
‘So, will she apologise to the entire House and to all the trade unions, business, legal and environmental groups who they told were wrong?
‘Will she also apologise for announcing this policy change not to the House, but to her friends, or should I say now her former friends, in the ERG, and then to the press?’
Mr Madders also said his party is concerned that whilst the ‘mode of delivery has changed, the destination has remained the same’.
He added: That’s revealed in the Smarter Regulations To Grow The Economy paper released yesterday, which contains a clear plan to water down TUPE and working time rights.’
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