SNP issues 100 'unanswered questions
May signals end of EU law in ‘Great Repeal Bill’
Theresa May is finally ready to fire the starting gun on Britain’s exit from the European Union and will introduce a “Great Repeal Bill” in the Queen’s Speech.
The bill will reverse the 1972 legislation that took Britain into what was then the European Community a year later and will erase the European Communities Act from British law.
The government will bring EU law under British law and as such it will signal an end to the over-riding authority of the EU.
Mrs May said Article 50 – the mechanism for exiting the EU – will be triggered before March. Her move to act will come as a relief to the Leave campaign and to the markets which have been demanding some clarity on the UK government’s strategy on Europe.
But her comments have drawn criticism from those who say there is still no detail on what a Brexit Britain will look like.
The CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, said: “The government’s desire to play its negotiating cards close to its chest must be tempered by clear indications on how we will trade with the UK’s most important partner and how firms will be able to employ the people needed to drive growth.”
The SNP issued a list of 100 ‘unanswered’ questions to the UK Government, including:
• Will the UK still be part of the single market?
• Will the UK remain a member of the European Union Customs Union?
• Will businesses be able to continue to trade with the EU without customs checks or other administrative costs?
• Does the UK Government still stand by the pre-referendum economic projection papers published by HM Treasury?
• Will UK citizens living in the EU be given the right to remain and retain their rights to access services there?
• Will police in the UK continue to have use of the European Arrest Warrant?
• What will the impact of changes to freedom of movement be on NHS staff recruitment and retention?
SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: “We are now 100 days on from the EU referendum result, and the utter lack of clarity from the Prime Minister and the rest of the UK Government is a shameful abdication of responsibility.
“The Tories are in the process of walking the UK economy off a cliff with a vague promise that they’ll find a parachute on the way down. It’s not good enough.
“People in Scotland voted overwhelmingly against leaving the EU – but even Leave voters must be worried by Theresa May’s inability to outline even the basics of what ‘Brexit means Brexit’ actually means.”
Mrs May’s comments come on the eve of her first Conservative annual conference in Birmingham, her first since taking over as party leader and Prime Minister.
The repeal bill will mark Britain’s return to being a “sovereign and independent country”, she says in an interview this weekend, a comment which drew an ironic comment from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said on Twitter: “Those pesky nationalists, eh? Obsessed with independence””
Mrs May has made it clear that she does not want the Brexit issue to dominate the conference and will want to focus on the agenda of building a fairer and more equal Britain which she spelled out on her promotion to Number 10.
“It will return power and authority to the elected institutions of our country. It means that the authority of EU law in Britain will end.”
The bill will also end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.
However, the party remains divided on between those who want a complete split from the EU and those demanding a “soft” Brexit that will negotiate a deal that maintains strong trading links with the 27-nation bloc.
While Mrs May will attempt to contain the Brexit issue, it is bound to be the major topic of conversation and there will be calls for more details on how it will work.
The “Brexit Secretary” David Davis will tell the conference on Sunday that employment rights “will not be eroded”, removing one big concern among trades unions and those on the left.