Grant Shapps to lead Tory backbench charge on Theresa May’s ‘Great Repeal Bill’

Posted On: 
24th October 2016

Theresa May is facing resistance from Tory backbenchers over plans to incorporate EU legislation into British law.

Former Tory chairman Grant Shapps
PA Images

Former Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps is set to spearhead an attempt to alter the Prime Minister’s “Great Repeal Bill”.

Mrs May unveiled the plans before the Tory party conference, arguing it represented the “first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again”.

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.

But the Times reports Mr Shapps is planning to attach a “sunset clause” under which the EU-made laws would stop being in force after five years.

His plan would grant ministers five years to reach a view over which laws they wanted to keep and then draw up appropriate legislation.

Mr Shapps believes that by pursuing this clause Mrs May’s bill would not turn into the “Great Continuity Bill” which simply drafts all of the EU’s measures into British law.

One MP told the Times the proposed Great Repeal Bill would be “completely, totally and utterly” hijacked by MPs across the House.

The MP said: “People will say things like, ‘Hang on, we’re signing up to the working time directive. Why on earth are we putting all this stuff into our laws when we don’t have to?’.

“You’ll get other people who say, ‘Hang on, I want more protections for bees’. It is going to be an enormous cock-up.”

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.