Many of my constituents have taken the time to contact me with their views on the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. Here is my position on the matter:
As many of you will know, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brought a large number of EU laws and regulations into our domestic law. This was called Retained EU Law (REUL), and had special status, reflecting the supremacy of EU law, European Court of Justice case law and EU legal principles. In September 2022, the Government then introduced the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, which was designed to abolish this special status and enable the Government, via Parliament, to amend more easily, repeal and replace REUL.
As the Bill is currently drafted, almost all REUL is automatically revoked at the end of 2023, unless a statutory instrument is passed to preserve it. This is known as a ‘sunset’ provision. However, the Government has tabled an amendment for Lords Report, which will replace the current sunset in the Bill with a list of all of the EU laws that it intends to revoke under the Bill at the end of 2023. The remainder will continue in force without the need to pass extra legislation.
By making it clear which regulations will be removed from our statute book, businesses and all those affected by these laws will have certainty. The Government will retain the vitally important powers in the Bill that allow it to continue to amend REUL, so more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after further assessment and consultation.
What I want to see is meaningful reform which not only removes unnecessary red tape, but allows us to tailor regulation to our needs and for the UK to secure its own path. I believe it is better to abolish REUL that the Government has assessed already, and not rush into making judgements on an ad hoc basis about individual laws and regulations.
I welcome that over 1,000 laws have already been revoked or reformed since Britain's exit from the EU. This Bill would revoke around 600 more and other legislation will revoke a further 500. The Bill now provides certainty for business by making it clear which regulations will be removed from the statue book, instead of highlighting only the REUL that would be saved.