The Great Repeal Bill: white paper and member responses

The HM Government logo.

The government published a white paper on Brexit legislation in March 2017. The paper covered 12 key themes, including:

  • Trade: the UK is to come out of the single market and seek a new arrangement and free trade agreement with the EU.
  • Immigration: a new system to control EU migration will be introduced.
  • Expats: the government wants to secure an agreement with European countries on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and Britons living in Europe.
  • Devolution: giving more powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as decision-makers.

The government also included details of its Great Repeal Bill, designed to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and give Parliament the power to adopt parts of EU legislation into UK law.

Download the white paper.

Responses from EDF Associates
Liberty, March 2017

“This white paper has gaping holes where our rights should be. Where’s the guarantee to protect our EU rights so we don’t end up worse off than our neighbours across the Channel? Where’s the guarantee of proper democratic scrutiny?” – Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty

Responses from EDF Observers
EHRC, March 2017

“The government should use this golden opportunity to strengthen our own laws as we leave EU laws behind, including by introducing a constitutional right to equality that will make post-Brexit Britain fairer and more united.” –  Chair David Isaac

House of Lords Constitution Committee report – the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and delegated powers

The House of Lords logo.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee published a report, The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and delegated powers, in March 2017. The report set out recommendations for reducing constitutional risks posed by the Great Repeal Bill.

These included provisions in the Bill to ensure that any delegated powers were used only:

  • so far as necessary to adapt the body of EU law to fit the UK’s domestic legal framework; and
  • so far as necessary to implement the result of the UK’s negotiations with the EU.

The report also recommended processes and mechanisms for parliamentary scrutiny of secondary legislation laid under the Bill.