As the Retained EU Law Bill gets its second reading in the House of Lords, our briefing sets out how the Bill undermines Parliament and puts our rights at risk.


The Retained EU Law Bill is deeply flawed. The Bill is an affront to our constitutional principles, and its promise to restore democratic control over our statute book rings entirely hollow. In reality, the Bill would undermine parliamentary sovereignty and hand a blank cheque to Ministers to rewrite our laws.

It also places important rights and protections on a cliff-edge, meaning vast swathes of our laws, including significant environmental protections and workers’ rights would disappear at the end of this year unless saved by a minister.

This will create considerable legal uncertainty, and large quantities of otherwise unnecessary work for ministers and civil servants. Additionally, the Bill lacks crucial safeguards to ensure that laws which are important to our economy and society are not changed without adequate Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Government has failed to make a case for why this approach is necessary.

We’re calling on MPs to scrap the Bill in its entirety.

Should the Bill proceed, we’re making recommendations to:

  • Reverse the operation of the ‘sunset’ (which would repeal EU-derived laws by default at the end of 2023), so that only identified legislation is revoked.
  • Ensure any powers granted to Ministers are amended so that they cannot be exercised without proper consultation, parliamentary scrutiny, and where appropriate the consent of devolved authorities.
  • Ensure ministers have the power to extend the sunset for all rights, not just some.
  • Prevent anything disappearing at the sunset without consultations, impact reports, and parliamentary approval.
  • Require the courts to have regard to legal certainty before departing from retained EU case law.