Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Britain takes step towards Brexit with repeal bill

Britain takes step towards Brexit with repeal bill

The U.K. will negotiate with Brussels over which cases still pending before Europe's top court should continue beyond day one of Brexit as Britain pushes to minimize disruption to banks and businesses, the government said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Theresa May's government published a draft law Thursday to formally end Britain's membership of the European Union, but opposition parties and the leaders of Scotland and Wales threatened to block what they said was a "naked power grab". It will annul the 1972 European Communities Act (ECA), which gives EU law instant effect in the United Kingdom and prevent a legal "black hole" existing after Brexit.

"This bill means that we will be able to exit the European Union with maximum certainty, continuity and control", Brexit Secretary David Davis said.

And, the government has promised to produce a "comprehensive" 25 Year Environment Plan, which will set out how it plans to "improve our environment as we leave the European Union and take control of our environmental legislation again".

He said: "It is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through parliament and is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal from the European Union".

The bill seeks to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act so that EU law no longer has precedence over United Kingdom law. This will allow Parliament to make any future changes to law.

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The Guardian adds that government ministers will be able to use powers dating back centuries and known as "Henry VIII powers" for up to two years after exit day, reflecting the government's fear that it could face a bottleneck of legislation as it battles to make the necessary changes in time. "I think ultimately Theresa May is going to rely on opposition parties to get this through". That is what the British people voted for and it is exactly what we will do - ensure that the decisions that affect our lives are taken here in the UK. "It fails to guarantee crucial rights will be enforced; it omits the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and it does nothing to ensure that British standards and rights keep pace with our EU partners".

But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has made clear Labour would not support the Bill in its current form.

Mr Barnier also held talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones at his office in the European Commission headquarters.

In a letter to the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Ms Longfield accused him of making children pawns in a Brexit game after he reiterated there would be no discussion of future trade arrangements before the principles were settled.

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) has published position papers on the UK's stance in the Brexit negotiations on the European atomic energy community (Euratom) and the role of the European court of justice (ECJ). The election she called last month cost her an outright parliamentary majority and reopened the debate on the nature of Brexit, with Britain's public spending watchdog now saying the government is not well prepared.

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