Why the Government Needs the “Henry VIII Powers” to Get Brexit
Parliament have been debating “The Great Repeal Bill” and voted to pass it through to a committee stage of the legislative process. Formally named European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, it will, if passed into law, revoke the European Communities Act 1972 (also known as ECA72), taking us out of the EU and transposing all of our EU laws into British law. British politicians will then be able to amend or repeal these laws.
The contentious element of this is the inclusion of a “Henry The Eighth clause.” This is nicknamed after the historic king who was empowered by Thomas Cromwell’s Proclamation By The Crown Act 1539, also known as Statute Of Proclamations, which allowed Henry Tudor to dictate laws without the involvement of Parliament. The modern clause would allow ministers to use secondary legislation to amend and repeal EU derived law without the support of MPs.
This sounds horrific, but these are strange times. Let’s examine the situation a little.
Though not all Tories agree, the official Conservative position is to deliver a decent Brexit, which limits immigration and EU legal powers. Labour’s official position is to stay in the single market and accept free movement, at least temporarily, but the party doesn’t seem to be able to decide what they want. As Graham Stuart MP said on ITV’s Last Orders, when it comes to Brexit, “Labour have had more positions than an Olympic gymnast.”
The fact is there is such a vast amount of EU-derived law that it will take an extremely long time to go through it all, especially if Labour collude to derail Brexit by constantly voting against the government’s proposals.
Labour accuse the Tories of attempting a power grab, but I suggest that it’s Labour who are plotting to grab power – the power to thwart the electorate’s decision. They rant about laws being changed by ministers, rather than Parliament, but they enthuse about our decisions being made in Belgium.
Secondary legislation (also known as delegated legislation) is made thousands of times per year without any controversy. It seems obvious to me that the reason for Labour’s resistance to it now is that they are broadly Remoaners and want to scupper the government’s plans, ultimately undemocratically forcing us to retain our member state status.
Unusually, the repeal bill’s committee stage will be dealt with by a Committee of the whole House, rather than a standard Public Bill Committee. This means it will be debated by all MPs in the House Of Commons. It is telling that Labour don’t object to irregularities when they mean that the party gets to contribute extra input.
Do we trust Theresa May? Certainly not! But look who her opponent is. Jeremy Corbyn is the politician who thinks defence is something you sit on.
In my opinion, under the present circumstances, Henry VIII powers in the hands of the government would be advantageous. If the Brexit act that passes is worded correctly, they would only be able to amend or repeal EU-derived law. Labour would have you believe that this includes workers’ rights, but these rights are in our British nature anyway and the government is adamant that they will be protected. Once Brexit is done and dusted, surely any unpopular decisions can be rectified through normal Parliamentary procedures. It’s not as though we have any MPs ourselves to argue for a proper Brexit.
It will be UKIP’s role to hold the government to account for the decisions they make. We need to keep the pressure on to force the malleable elites to cave in to us again, instead of Jean-Claude Juncker and his accomplices. We must also demonstrate to the public the difference between what they would vote for and the choices that ministers make. One method of doing this would be to utilise the Parallel Parliament idea as described in JRE’s manifesto.