The Retained EU Law Bill is a key piece of Brexiteer legislation: Act now to Save our Standards

Published on November 29, 2022

The Retained EU Law Bill is this Government’s first step to dismantling a swathe of regulations and standards protecting our environment, food quality and workers’ rights. 

This Bill – and a series of other measures set to follow – give government ministers free rein to demolish vital legal protections with no democratic oversight. 

In its current form, the Bill will – under a so-called ‘sunset clause’ - abolish all EU laws and standards still applicable in the UK unless Ministers intervene before 2023 to maintain or reform them. That means crippling uncertainties for businesses, workers, and consumers, causing chaos in the courts. 

Passing this Bill could lower UK goods and employment standards to well below EU levels and destroy our ability to trade with the EU, breaking the terms of the Brexit agreement and risking a trade war. 

The Retained EU Law Bill, introduced into parliament by Jacob Reese-Mogg MP when he was Business Secretary, is a key piece of Brexiteer legislation. It is an attempt by the architects of the Leave campaign to “get Brexit done” at all costs.  

The Leave campaign leaders have broken every one of their promises and this Government does not have the mandate to put British people’s rights, health, and safety at risk. Therefore, we need to step up to defend these protections. 

European Movement UK demands the government drop the Retained EU Law Bill and instead focus on protecting our rights. We want to see the government: 

  • Provide a legally binding guarantee that they won’t slash our standards or drop EU laws which positively build on our established regulations and standards; 
  • Commit to retaining or improving key legislation on wildlife protection, animal welfare, employment rights, environmental protections, food standards; 
  • The government must engage openly and transparently with third-sector organisations that are raising concerns about the implications of divergence in these areas, and; 
  • Remove clauses that allow Ministers to change the law without adequate democratic and parliamentary scrutiny. 

EU regulations are not perfect but are not ‘red tape’ either. They improve the quality of our everyday lives by protecting our rights as workers and consumers, our environment and wildlife and the quality of the food we eat. 

These EU laws were created with the support of governments of all political parties when the UK was in the EU. 

EU laws – that the Government now wants to dismantle – protect us in the workplace. They guarantee our paid holidays, reduce the gender pay gap and protect the rights of people on maternity and paternity leave. They limit the number of hours we are required to work and defend our rights if we face redundancy.  

Under the Government’s proposals, laws that protect our environment by helping tackle climate change, maintain biodiversity and keep air, water and beaches clean are all at risk.  

The EU has also halted the decline of animal populations like otters, dormice, and dolphins. They have established 286 conservation and protected areas across the UK, so our wildlife can thrive and have ended animal testing for cosmetics. 

The safety and quality of our food and hard-won progress on animal welfare are all under threat. If the Government is successful, laws which prevent the sale of American-style chlorinated chicken, prohibit growth hormone-injected meat and protect farming and agriculture will all be at risk.  

The graphic below identifies which government department will be affected, and by how many pieces of legislation. Concerns have already been raised to the committee in parliament that departments will not have the time to adequately assess legislation before the 2023 cliff edge deadline, meaning hundreds of laws could be at risk of being deleted from the statute book entirely without any democratic oversight.

Source: Northern Ireland Assembly. 

The Retained EU Law Bill Committee heard on the 8th of November 2022 that the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has only three full-time members of staff tasked and assessing the impact of at least 570 laws that originated in the EU in that department alone.  

Not just is this bill undemocratic and gives unchecked power to ministers to do as they please it is also totally undeliverable and playing politics with key laws that impact us every day. 

The European Movement are committed to fighting this Bill every step of the way. But we need your help. 

Act now. 

Sign the petition. 

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For more on this, we recommend TLDR News UK’s video: Britain's (Pretty Bad) Plan to Delete all EU Law. 

European Movement UK is the only organisation with the courage and confidence to expose and reverse the calamity of Brexit.

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