Britain’s government has announced plans for a Great Repeal Bill, which will in effect end the European Union’s jurisdiction in Britain and import all EU laws into British law on the day the country formally leaves the bloc. Here are the main points.
WHAT WILL IT DO?
The bill will repeal the European Communities Act 1972, ending the jurisdiction of EU law in Britain on the day the country formally leaves the bloc. To ensure a smooth transition, the legislation will also convert all EU laws into British law.
More than 12,000 EU regulations are in force in Britain. The legislation will cover major issues such as immigration and ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, as well as more technical matters such as who will regulate British banks, airlines and chemical companies.
WHY IS THIS CONTENTIOUS?
Because of the sheer number of laws and the limited time allotted, lawmakers will be called to delegate authority to Prime Minister Theresa May and her Cabinet to change some laws without a detailed debate or vote in Parliament. While the government has said it will use these so-called Henry VIII powers only for technical matters, some lawmakers fear a power grab by ministers.
WHAT DOES HENRY VIII HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
The Statue of Proclamations 1539 gave King Henry VIII the power to legislate by proclamation. Although the statute was repealed immediately after his death in 1547, similar powers have been inserted into legislation in modern times.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, criticized this approach in a recent interview with ITV. “I don’t think the record of Henry VIII on promoting democracy, inclusion and participation was a very good one,” he said. “He was all about essentially dictatorial powers to bypass what was then a very limited parliamentary power.”