Today the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was publish, formerly known as the Great Repeal Bill.
Labour has set out six pledges to make sure that we protect the UK through the Brexit process, and as your MP I promise to challenge the government on these key issues. – Seema Malhotra MP
1. It proposes sweeping delegated powers but lacks effective oversight or accountability. In particular, the Bill could allow delegated powers to be used very late in negotiations to cover significant policy changes. This is fundamentally undemocratic and unacceptable.
2. It lacks clear enforcement mechanisms. Without remedies, key rights such as workplace rights or environmental standards could become unenforceable.
3. It does not include the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This codifies human rights in EU law and UK law in modern form and includes important protections in evolving areas such as privacy protections, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and rights for the elderly. Failure to include the Charter will impact the way that rights are interpreted in UK courts.
4. It takes the wrong approach on devolution and does not ensure effective involvement of devolved administrations. There should be a clear presumption of devolution. Without this, the Bill is a significant power grab for Whitehall and fails to capitalise on the potential for further devolution of power.
5. It does not include any provision to ensure that UK rights keep pace with EU rights after Brexit. This could lead to UK rights lagging behind the EU over time in areas such as workplace, consumer or equality protections or environmental standards.
6. There can be no qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses attached to this Bill. If there are, Labour will not support it. In addition, Labour will block the use of delegated legislation to the same effect.
Labour is also concerned that the Bill mirrors the Government’s wider and deeply flawed red-line that would prevent any future role for the European Court of Justice – a position that is making it far harder for the UK to get a Brexit deal in the national interest.