Farron Warns Government: ‘Passing Your Great Repeal Bill Will Be Hell’
Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron, soon to be replaced by Vince Cable, has warned the Tories ‘This will be Hell’ as they prepared to publish the bill today that will convert EU law into British law. Labour also vowed to vote against the legislation unless there were significant changes to the details previously set out.
Formally known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, the draft legislation is a key plank of the government’s Brexit strategy.
It will repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which took Britain into the EU and remove the supremacy of Brussels law.
The bill will also provide temporary powers to correct laws that will not operate appropriately after Brexit.
It is not expected to be debated until the Autumn, but will need to have been passed by the time the UK leaves the EU – due to be in March 2019.
Mr Farron said he was ‘putting the government on warning’, promising a tougher test than than it faced when passing legislation authorising the UK’s departure from the EU.
‘If you found the Article 50 Bill difficult, you should be under no illusion, this will be hell,’ he said.
‘If the government try any wheeze or trick to force through changes to vital protections, from workers’ rights to the environment, they are playing with fire.’
The SNP’s leader in the Commons, Ian Blackford, also raised concerns:
‘The UK government needs to provide clarity over the repatriation of powers currently with the EU and which should go to the devolved nations.
‘People in Scotland deserve a commitment from the UK Government to categorically rule out the threat of a Westminster power grab of devolved powers at any time as a result of the Repeal Bill and the UK Government should give a cast iron guarantee that devolved powers will be increased.’
Labour said there was not enough accountability over the ‘sweeping delegated powers’ ministers will give themselves to alter legislation and claims the Bill represents a ‘power grab’ by Westminster over the devolved administrations.
Labour MP Hilary Benn, who is chairman of the Brexit select committee, said there are ‘real and serious concerns about the way in which this is done’.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com