Much of the UK’s current legislation is derived from the European Union. When the UK leaves the EU there needs to be a level of continuity. To provide this the Government intends to introduce the Great Repeal Bill which will do three things:
- Repeal the European Communities Act 1972. This legislation provides legal authority for EU law to have effect as national law in the UK. This will no longer be the case after Brexit.
- Bring all EU laws onto the UK statute books. This means that laws and regulations made over the past 40 years while the UK was a member of the EU will continue to apply after the Prime Minister triggered Article 50 on 29 March.
- Create powers to make secondary legislation. Technical problems will arise as EU laws are put on the statute book. For instance, many EU laws mention EU institutions in which the UK will no longer participate after Brexit, or mention “EU law” itself, which will not be part of the UK legal system after Brexit. There will not be time for Parliament to scrutinise every change, so the bill will give ministers some powers to make these changes by secondary legislation, which is subject to less scrutiny by MPs.