Brexit business chief John Longworth backs 'sunset clause' on all EU regulation

Posted On: 
4th October 2016

The Government should impose a sunset clause on all European Union legislation when it is transposed into UK law after Brexit, one of the leading business voices in favour of leaving the EU has said. 

John Longworth speaking at a Vote Leave event during the referendum campaign
Credit: 
Ben Birchall/PA Wire

John Longworth, who left his post as director general of the British Chambers of Commerce after speaking out in favour of Brexit, said the “burden of proof” should be put onto keeping EU laws rather than scrapping them.

Theresa May announced plans on Sunday to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and to put the existing EU laws onto Britain’s statute book.

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Mr Longworth argued more needed to be done to make sure that the repeal actually resulted in a cut on the number of regulations British business had to abide by.

At a Brexit Central fringe event at the Conservative party conference, Mr Longworth recommended a time limit on how long EU rules would remain in place.

He said: “We should examine the possibility in the new Great Reform Act to actually introduce a sunset clause on all European legislation, thus reversing in a sense the burden of proof so that Whitehall can’t drag its feet on deregulation by saying it’s having difficulty reviewing which should be removed, but instead saying all European legislation should be removed on a certain date unless we decide to keep it.

“And in that way we could make sure there is a proper addressing of the deregulation issue.”

The sunset clause proposal was first recommended by free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.