There is a clause 7 in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill that seems to have been little mentioned.
“A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the
Minister considers appropriate to prevent, remedy or mitigate—
(a) any failure of retained EU law to operate effectively, or
(b) any other deficiency in retained EU law, arising from the withdrawal of
the United Kingdom from the EU.”
This effectively gives individual Ministers the right to strike out any law they don’t like. How is it I feel decidedly insecure about this, remembering particularly the skill sets of our talented team of current ministers?
One man’s deficiency can be another’s vital protection.
This is far too much power for one Minister and amounts effectively to one of those Henry VIII clauses where legislation can be changed unilaterally.
The Bill does later state that:
“No regulations may be made under this section after the end of the period of two years beginning with exit day.”
But a lot of damage can be done in two years.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
We could appoint a Commission based on the Law Commission. This would be a tried and tested formula as the Law Commission already works to clean up the statute book.
We need to appoint a sister Commission to do the same for EU to UK law.
And even better, the Commission could report to a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee, which could either recommend the provisions to Parliament or send proposals back for further work.
Our Prime Minister says she wants to work together – well this was her chance to prove it. She missed her target, but she’s used to that.
And she still has time to amend Clause 7.
Otherwise the next anti-Tory tune to go viral may be I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am.