Our Position on Brexit and the General Election

Liz Shannon – our Parliamentary and Policy Advisor – shares the latest members update on our Brexit work, including a background briefing.

We have written to the four main political parties setting out our agreed position on Brexit.

So far we have received responses from the Conservative and Labour party. Both replies indicated that our views would be taken into account.

We have now developed a frame and ask to political parties alongside a question for candidates.

We would encourage all members and associates to include this in their communications with parties and candidates – and thank you in advance for doing so.

Frame:  it took ordinary people a very long time to win the equality and human rights protections we now have in British and European law.

Ask:  will your party guarantee protection in the future for our hard won human rights and equality laws?

Question to candidates:  do you agree that the Great Repeal Bill should not let politicians take away our equality and human rights laws at the stroke of a pen?

Background Briefing

Now that Article 50 has been triggered Britain has two years to leave the European Union.

When parliament returns, the government will be introducing a bill (previously called the Great Repeal Bill) which will ‘convert EU law in to UK law’. However some rights enshrined by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will not be transferred.

That is why in the future we want to make sure that there is a constitutional right to equality.

Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, ‘parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses.’

The government has said that this will mainly be done through the use of ‘secondary legislation’ which generally does not require any debate, votes or real scrutiny in parliament.

The government white paper on Brexit and the Great Repeal Bill says:  ‘a balance must be struck between the importance of scrutiny and speed.’ This sounds dangerous and could mean our existing rights and protections are at risk.

There should be no opportunity for parliament to change our existing laws on human rights and equality without proper scrutiny, through primary legislation, which will include debate and votes in both Houses of Parliament.