A second reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill took place yesterday in the House of Commons, where David Davis outlined how laws will look post-Brexit.
The Bill, which should have essentially converted all existing EU laws into domestic ones to ensure there won’t be any gaps in legislation after Brexit, was in fact a means for reducing MPs to mere spectators by giving ministers powers to implement laws at their discretion. While some discretionary powers can support good law making, these proposals are extremely wide ranging which begs the question of whether they could be open to abuse. Instead of UK Parliamentary sovereignty taking centre stage it is Tory ministers who will hold all the cards.
Labour Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer tore apart David Davis’s EU Withdrawal bill with forensic precision, pointing out a series of loopholes that could leave way for ministers to alter workers’ rights, as well as health and safety laws, with “the least possible scrutiny”.
Paul Brannen, Labour MEP for the North East of England, also commented: “Keir Starmer’s takedown of the Tory Brexit team added yet another layer to the astonishing ineptitude of this government and its handling of the complex process of leaving the EU.
“Labour will, of course, vote against this dreadful Bill in a week’s time and will continue to scrutinise the Brexit proceedings, despite David Davis’s fantasy plans that would benefit the few, not the many.”
Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, said: “This Bill is proof of the Tories’ incredible arrogance at believing that their plans to concentrate all of these powers in the hands of a few ministers would ever be acceptable.
“When voices from within his own party describe Davis’s work as an astonishing monstrosity, it’s clear to see why EU negotiators have repeatedly told him to get serious over Brexit.”