European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Enquiry report released.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was subject to a short inquiry today to inform the Committee and Report Stage with Hilary Benn, MP, in the chair.

Benn: "The EU (Withdrawal) Bill marks a significant moment in the process of leaving the EU. This is anything but a straightforward task as all existing EU legislation will need to be copied across into UK law to ensure continuity after exit. With an estimated 800-1000 statutory instruments needed, Parliament will need to work hard to make this happen.

We need to maintain flexibility as the negotiations proceed. Ministers propose to remove the option to set different exit days for different purposes - and replace it with a single exit point, 11pm on 29 March 2019. This would create significant difficulties if the negotiations were to continue until the last minute of the 11th hour - as the Secretary of State has suggested might happen.

Our inquiry has revealed that there is not a consistent view about how the Bill’s provisions will work in practice. Government should provide more clarity and information for citizens, businesses, regulatory authorities and the courts about the scope and status of retained EU law. Greater clarity should be given to assist judges on exactly how they are to apply European Court of Justice decisions issued post exit day.

We welcome the Government's announcement that there will now be separate primary legislation to implement any EU withdrawal agreement and transitional period.”

John ShuttleworthComment