The successful EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill passed its second reading in the House yesterday. Anyone interested in finding out exactly what ‘heavyweight’ EU laws have dragged Britain down and need to be thrown out will find some sort of answer in Section 1(1).

Potentially all 2,417 of them are at risk.

End of 2023 everything EU Derived Subordinate Legislation and Retained Direct EU Legislation (REUL) be automatically revoked by the use of a so-called “twilight” clause, although some may see this as a reference to the sunset over civilized life in Britain.

If you are not entirely sure of the laws to which it applies, the EU retained law scoreboard (click on the REUL Explorer tab) lists 2,417 pieces of EU legislation that the government has set its sights on, although he admits that the list is not complete and that even regulations that he is not unaware could go by accident.

The dismissal of Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is unlikely to change anything. Rishi Sunak embarked on exactly the same course in July when he pledged to review all 2,400 laws with the first set of recommendations coming in its first 100 days.

What kind of laws are we talking about?

The Scottish Food Standards Agency (FSS) has already clearly expressed their concerns, warning of “major risks and impacts” on food safety and standards if the bill becomes law. Among the fears of the FSS are the potential loss of trade obligations to maintain minimum levels of hygiene or to recall unsafe foods, and to ensure the safety and composition of baby foods.

Other regulations at risk are those setting labor rights, animal and public health and veterinary certification requirements for meat imports, banning carcinogens in cosmetics or transposing key EU directives into UK legislation setting standards minimum requirements for water quality and wastewater management, aviation and maritime safety and the safety of the transport of dangerous goods. Everything could be abruptly revoked on the night of December 31, 2023.

A common good information note say if it is enacted and nothing is done legislatively thereafter [my emphasis] “vast reams” of REUL would fall, “creating precisely the ‘gaps’ in national law that the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 was meant to avoid”.

You might think that “gaps” are an understatement.

Departments “encouraged” to reformulate, revoke or repeal the EU

The memo adds that this is, however, a highly unlikely outcome as it is “more plausible” that Ministers would use the Bill’s powers to preserve, reword, reproduce, revoke, replace and update parts of the REUL. Ministers can also extend the sunset clause until the end of June 2026, but no later.

Having spent the best part of ten years repeatedly trying to find excessive bureaucracy without success, the government seems to have given up in frustration and entrusted future ministers with a thankless task.

MP for Watford, a junior minister in the Business Department, Dean Russell, who spoke with such rapidity he appeared to have consumed some sort of illegal substance, led the government in place of Jacob Rees-Mogg who had resigned earlier early. Russell said the sunset clause would “incentivize” ministers – in the same way that stupidly setting a strict deletion date for all your computer files might “incentivize” you to save a few.

Organizations such as the Hansard Society and the Public Law Project have expressed concern that parliament is marginalized because the bill empowers ministers and devolved executives, rather than MPs. Where parliament is still involved, there will be less scrutiny than at present.

Huge workload creating only “deep uncertainty”

The government claimed that the main purpose of the bill is to “firmly restore our parliament as the principal source of law in the United Kingdom”. However, a former government lawyer who helped devise the concept of retained European law, Eleonor Duhs, a partner at the city’s law firm Bates Wells, said the government’s plans were completely at odds with Theresa’s vision. May to scrap EU laws with “full and careful consideration”. real debate.

“This Bill gives Ministers the power to repeal and replace a vast body of what is now national law quickly and without proper scrutiny. This is unprecedented, irresponsible and undemocratic.”

Eleonor Duhs, Bates Wells

She also raised questions about the use of valuable legal drafting resources within Whitehall.

Jonathan Jones, the former head of the government’s legal department, warned that the bill would create deep uncertainty for businesses and many other organizations. “I think it’s absolutely ideological and symbolic rather than real politics,” he said.

Both Welsh and Scottish governments have reservations about a Westminster ‘grab’, the inadvertent loss of important regulations and the extra workload placed on civil servants in devolved administrations.

For example, there are apparently 570 regulations that affect Defra alone and officials will need to consult and assess them at the rate of more than two a day if they are to meet the December 2023 deadline.

Could Britain really have ‘better’ regulation?

Several Tory members, including Theresa Villiers, have argued that Britain could have ‘better’ regulations, which 27 EU members could also defend themselves, thus making it impossible for the single market to work in a way significant and takes us back 30 years. Compromising a bit on your own ‘perfect’ regulation opens up a much bigger market for everyone, something the former minister didn’t seem to understand.

Either any change will be so small that it will have little impact beyond lifting new barriers to EU trade, or it will be so transformational that it risks breaching the terms of the agreement of trade and cooperation – which speaks in several places of “a level playing field”. for open and fair competition” – provoking EU retaliation through tariffs.

The only ‘benefits’ of Brexit appear to be doubling the regulatory burden on our manufacturers, with the government determined to cripple UK industry as much as possible.

Race down

Opposition MPs worried about a ‘race to the bottom’ also pointed to Term 15(5) which prevents any new provisions from increasing the regulatory burden. And to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, subsection 15(10) explains that no regulation can add (a) a financial cost; (b) administrative inconvenience; (c) an obstacle to trade or innovation; (d) an impediment to efficiency, productivity or profitability; (e) a sanction (criminal or otherwise) which affects the exercise of any lawful activity.

Avoiding an increase in regulatory burden is now held high above all else in the name of sovereignty. The Bill is a ratchet that only works to reduce regulations even though they may lead to economic growth or increase the rights, safety, security, health, welfare, wealth or prosperity of British citizens .

No investor, business owner, farmer, environmentalist or citizen can be sure which regulations may or may not be repealed, amended or replaced or when. We have now learned HOW the government intends to deal with EU laws, but WHAT laws could be scrapped remains a mystery.

The new Prime Minister is said to be desperate for economic growth. This bill will do nothing. This is the recipe for a new decline.


We need your help! The press in our country is dominated by outlets owned by billionaires, many of whom are foreigners and avoid paying taxes. We are a citizen journalism publication but still have significant costs. If you believe in what we do, consider subscribing to the Bylines Gazette 🙏