Repeal Bill introduced to exit the EU with certainty

14 July 2017

This is the next step in returning power from Brussels to the UK by introducing the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Known as the Repeal Bill, it is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with maximum certainty, continuity and control.

As far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. This will allow the UK to leave the EU while ensuring that our future laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.

For businesses, workers and consumers across the UK that means they can have confidence that they will not be subject to unexpected changes on the day we leave the EU. It also delivers on the government’s promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

The Repeal Bill is a mechanism to achieve three simple aims:

  • Repeal the European Communities Act, remove supremacy of EU law and return control to the UK.

  • Convert EU law into UK law where appropriate, giving businesses continuity to operate in the knowledge that nothing has changed overnight, and providing certainty that rights and obligations will not be subject to sudden change.

  • Create the necessary temporary powers to correct the laws that no longer operate appropriately so that our legal system continues to function outside the EU.

The bill sets out how the government will prepare our statute book for exit but will not make major changes to policy or legislation beyond what is necessary to ensure the law continues to work properly on day one.

To ensure we are prepared for the process of withdrawal from the EU, the government will also introduce a number of bills over the course of the next two years including a Customs Bill and an Immigration Bill.

The Repeal Bill means the government can make corrections to EU law so that it functions as UK law – this could involve changing a reference to a particular piece of EU law or transferring important functions from EU institutions to UK institutions, depending on the outcome of the negotiations. Allowing corrections to be made quickly will provide certainty for business.

Geographical extent - The bill will ensure that nothing changes for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – they will not lose any of their current decision-making powers. The government expects there will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration. The government has said they will seek the consent of the devolved legislatures for the bill.

The bill can be found here, along with the explanatory notes.