As it stands, large swathes of currently unidentified retained EU law will disappear at the end of 2023 unless specifically saved by a minister. Our second reading briefing sets out why we consider this constitutionally inappropriate and potentially deeply harmful.

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The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill’s complex and opaque provisions present a number of risks to key rights and the role of Parliament. Specifically, they will:

  • Undermine parliamentary sovereignty by transferring vast legislative powers to ministers
  • Significantly reduce the role of parliamentary oversight;
  • Place vitally important and valued rights on a cliff-edge, as they risk being overlooked or falling foul of the tight deadlines set by the Bill;
  • Create large quantities of otherwise unnecessary work for UK ministers, devolved ministers, and civil servants, without a clear case for why this should be prioritised over other pressing issues;
  • Create considerable legal uncertainty, which will put individuals’ rights at risk and make it more difficult to enforce those rights.

As such, we are urging the following recommendations:

  1. The Bill should not transfer broad and unconstrained legislative powers to ministers. The clauses that would transfer such powers should be removed or made much more narrow;
  2. The Bill should include provision for meaningful consultation and debate proposed exercises of ministerial powers;
  3. The Bill should limit the power of UK ministers to legislate in areas of devolved competence without the consent of devolved authorities (e.g. the creation of a consent mechanism);
  4. The Bill should not allow EU-derived legislation that is equivalent to acts of Parliament in substantive content and importance – such as GDPR – to be amended as if it were a statutory instrument.

Read the full briefing