The government is a step closer to extracting the UK from EU Law following Brexit legislation vote
MPs have backed the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Commons, voting in favour by 326 votes to 290. The bill, which now moves on to its next parliamentary stage, aims to ensure EU law will no longer be supreme in the UK.
Dubbed the Great Repeal Bill, it will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which took Britain into the EU and gave European law precedence over UK laws. It will also end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
The bill, which passed its second reading in the commons with a 36 vote majority, will transfer all existing EU legislation into domestic UK law in a bid to ensure a smooth Brexit transition with no gaps in the law.
Following the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Parliament [has taken] a historic decision to back the will of the British people and vote for a bill which gives certainty and clarity ahead of our withdrawal from the European Union.”
“Although there is more to do, this decision means we can move on with negotiations with solid foundations and we continue to encourage MPs from all parts of the UK to work together in support of this vital piece of legislation.”
Those against the bill are calling for safeguarding measures, arguing it gives ministers too much power to make changes to laws during the transfer without proper consultation with MPs.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the bill a “Tory power grab”, while a tweet on the party’s Twitter page reads: “The Tories are using Brexit to quietly grab power in Parliament. How? With an EU Withdrawal Bill that will give undemocratic powers to Tory minsters with less scrutiny from MPs. We must stop it.”
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “Labour will seek to amend and remove the worst aspects from the bill but the flaws are so fundamental it’s hard to see how this could ever be made fit for purpose.”
The bill will now receive line-by-line scrutiny in its committee stage and will face more attempts to change it with new amendments expected to be tabled.