Hilary Benn - Member of Parliament for Leeds Central
Thanks to all of you who have contacted me about the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.
This is a shocking Bill. It will allow Ministers to amend or repeal all legislation carried over from our membership of the European Union – thought to consist of over 2400 pieces of law, and possibly as many as 3,800 – with nearly no parliamentary scrutiny. If the Government does not pass a replacement to any of piece of legislation before the end of this year, it would expire and no longer be law in our country. This would put at risk hard-fought rights and protections for British workers, consumers and the environment while diminishing democratic scrutiny and accountability in key areas of British law.
This is a reckless approach to our legislation. The Bill would cause enormous levels of uncertainty as we would have no idea what our laws will consist of in 12 months’ time. I share your concern that the Government is seeking to use this Bill to embark on a process of mass deregulation. The laws at risk are not cumbersome red tape but rights and protections British people rightly expect.
I therefore voted against the Bill at its Second Reading in the House of Common. I spoke in that debate and you can read my speech here.
I can also assure you that I will continue to oppose the Bill.
We do need to establish the future status of laws carried over from our time in the European Union, but I fundamentally disagree with the Government’s approach to doing this, seeking to give itself the power to sweep away key areas of law, of great importance to people across the country, with no scrutiny, no say and no certainty over their replacements.
Instead, the Government should bring forward a positive set of proposals about where the law needs to change or whether something can be done better and allow MPs the time and power to scrutinise those proposals on behalf of our constituents.
MP for Leeds Central