Theresa May announces repeal bill to end EU influence over British law

Posted On: 
2nd October 2016

Theresa May has pledged to repeal the legislation enacting European Union laws in the UK. 

Theresa May says the repeal bill will 'return power and authority' to the UK
PA Images

In scrapping the 1972 European Communities Act, which took the UK into the then-EEC in the first place, the Government will also end the influence of the European Court of Justice in the UK.

Mrs May said the so-called “Great Repeal Bill” represented the “first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again”.

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The announcement comes ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit on the first day of the Conservative conference in Birmingham.

The repeal bill will be introduced in the next Parliamentary session but will take effect only when the UK formally leaves the EU after the Article 50 process.

At that point, the existing EU laws and regulations will be transposed into British legislation.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mrs May said her pledge would “return power and authority to the elected institutions of our country”.

“It means that the authority of EU law in Britain will end,” she added.

David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is one of the other senior Tories who will address the Tory conference later today.

He will say: "It’s very simple. At the moment we leave, Britain must be back in control. And that means EU law must cease to apply.

"To ensure continuity, we will take a simple approach. EU law will be transposed into domestic law, wherever practical, on exit day.

"It will be for elected politicians here to make the changes to reflect the outcome of our negotiation and our exit.

"That is what people voted for: power and authority residing once again with the sovereign institutions of our own country."

Mr Davis will also give a commitment to protect workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU after pro-Remain campaigners warned that they were under threat.

"To those who are trying to frighten British workers, saying ‘When we leave, employment rights will be eroded’, I say firmly and unequivocally ‘no they won’t’,” he will say.

Neither Mrs May nor Mr Davis have shed light on when the Government intends to trigger Article 50, which begins a two-year countdown for the UK to leave the EU.

They have said it will not be invoked this year, but former pro-EU campaigners are demanding further details on the timings and the priorities for negotiations.

In a statement put out by Open Britain, the successor to the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, Labour MP Phil Wilson said: “We still know nothing about the Government's plans for our new relationship with the EU, whether over trade, security or migration.

“As car manufacturers have made clear, it is essential that the UK remains a member of the Single Market to protect investment and jobs. This is what businesses want to hear the Prime Minister commit to. 

“I am deeply concerned about workers' rights and environmental protections. We will hold the Government's feet to the fire to ensure we get longer term reassurances that neither will be watered down.”