Pages tagged "Retained EU Law Bill"

  • Senedd joins Holyrood and votes to drop the Retained EU Law Bill

    In a vote last week, on 28th March, the Senedd formally refused consent for the UK Government’s Retained EU Law Bill.  

    The Senedd has aligned with the Scottish Parliament in voting to withhold consent for the Retained EU Law Bill. This means the Bill does not have the support of the Welsh or Scottish governments. 

    The vote in the Senedd was a Legislative Consent Motion. This is a vote which is held if the UK government wishes to legislate on a subject matter which is a devolved issue.  

    In a statement from the Senedd, Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said the proposed legislation threatens food standards, environmental protections, workers’ rights, and business and consumer certainty. 

    “Both the Senedd and the Scottish Parliament have both been clear,” said Antoniw, “that this is an unacceptable encroachment on the democratically established devolution settlement.” 

    As it stands, the Retained EU Law Bill impacts over nearly 4,000 pieces of legislation. If passed as it is, the Bill would abolish all EU laws and standards still applicable in the UK at the end of 2023. This is known as the ‘sunset clause’, and we don’t know if the government has the time to decide on the future of each law by then. The Bill is currently at report stage in the House of Lords as part of the scrutiny process. 

    “We welcome the vote in the Senedd to drop the Retained EU Law Bill,” said Campaign Manager, Richard Kilpatrick, “at the last General Election, no one voted to give ministers this level of power over the laws and standards that we all take for granted. This wasn’t in the Conservative Party’s manifesto.  

    “The Senedd voted to drop this disastrous Bill, as did Holyrood, because it recognises that this Brexit government is putting so much at risk with this bonfire bill. Brexit was not a vote to slash our working conditions, environmental regulations or our quality of life. 

    “We call on people to join tens of thousands of others, as well as two devolved governments and an alliance of sitting MPs and members of the House of Lords, by signing our petition for the UK government to drop this Bill.” 

    European Movement UK demands the government drop the Retained EU Law Bill and instead focus on protecting our rights. Sign the petition to Save our Standards here. 

  • REUL Action Day: Activists take to the streets because Brexit is far from done

    On Saturday 4th February, 37 local groups across the country took part in the Retained EU Law Bill Action Day. This was a crucial next step in the campaign to ‘Save our Standards’.  

    From Leeds to Lancaster, local groups handed out over 20,000 leaflets, managed to raise our petition to almost 40,000 signatures, and spoke to over 2,000 people about the dangers of the Retained EU Law Bill. An outstanding result from our network of activists.  

    I want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped at the weekend to raise awareness about the dangers of the bill. 

    The overall message we heard from the Retained EU Law Action Day was that public opinion is shifting, and EMUK would love to share some positive interactions that took place throughout the day.  

    Read more
  • EM ramps up campaign to stop the Retained EU Law Bill

    In the House of Commons on Wednesday 18th January 2023, MPs voted against amendments to delay the Retained EU Law Bill. This means that, as it stands, the Retained EU Law Bill will come into effect on December 31st, 2023, jeopardising the standards that keep us safe. 

    In line with this, European Movement UK is doing everything we can to raise awareness surrounding the dangers of the bill over the coming weeks, before it comes back to the Commons for a final vote.  

    With this deadline in mind, on Thursday 2nd February 2023, European Movement UK hosted a webinar where supporters were given the opportunity to hear from veteran campaigners on the risks of the Retained EU Law Bill, and the best ways to campaign against it, in preparation for our Retained EU Law Action day which took place on Saturday 4th February 2023.  

    Speakers included Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and EMUK Vice-President, Mhairi Snowden, Director of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, Gareth Lloyd-Johnson, Campaigns Manager for Breast Cancer UK and our very own Retained EU Law Bill expert Richard Kilpatrick, Campaigns Manager for European Movement UK.  

    Caroline Lucas MP discussed her work opposing the bill in Parliament and why she thinks it should be scrapped, as well as advice and arguments that she thinks work well when out campaigning against the bill.  Mhairi Snowden highlighted the human rights violations of the bill and went on to give a comprehensive yet easy to grasp list on all the things the bill affects. Gareth Lloyd-Johnson gave a detailed explanation of the ways that the bill is not only affecting cancer research but the access to chemicals, scientific research and data in the UK. Richard Kilpatrick ended by going into the more specific details of the bill as well as defining the dashboard, the sunset clause and a framework bill.  

    The webinar also involved an open discussion between participants and speakers where a range of impressive and informed questions were asked and answered, four such questions are displayed below: 


    Peter Burke asked this question to Caroline Lucas and received this answer:  

    Q. Am I right in thinking that the bill cannot be implemented in Northern Ireland while the NIP is in place, as NI is in the EU Customs Union? Is that not likely to upset the DUP even more and make a return of the troubles more likely?

    A. That is my understanding as well, and it’s interesting it has not been part of the discussions, at least not in the HOC chamber, around the NIP and so forth. But it certainly feeds into that, and just as you described it means that the chances of achieving stability there and averting the worst of the tension, we are already seeing are becoming less likely. It makes all of that tension much worse.

    I don’t suppose you’re likely to get into that on the doorstep unless you’re speaking with someone that is extremely knowledgeable. But I would just end by saying that it is great to see that some people are really knowledgeable on the Retained EU Law Bill. But also, don’t worry if you aren’t, I think the most important thing to say is that there are massive risks to so many of the protections that have been so hard fought over decades. Whether that’s environment, workers’ rights, health and safety. The way the bill is being handled is just so undemocratic, the idea that it’s just left up to ministers to decide which bits they are going to keep and which bits they are going to throw away is terrible. So, I would advise sticking to these points when out campaigning as it really conveys what is at stake with this bill.  


    Lucy Pope asked this question to Mhairi Snowden and received this answer:  

    Q. Can the Scottish parliament and the Welsh Assemblies and Stormont (once back) override this law and re-enact these laws?

    A. So I think that they wish they could, actually in fact I know from a Scottish Parliament point of view they wish they could. But the reality is a lot more complex than that and they are more restricted than you might imagine.

    The Retained EU Law Bill is UK level legislation, and England are in effect giving themselves the power to legislate in devolved areas if they want to. But it looks very likely that the Scottish parliament will not give their consent to this bill. However, we’ve seen the Scottish Parliament (about seven times now since Brexit) not give their consent on certain things, but those things have gone ahead anyway. In that way this process is becoming less and less useful. So, because of the complexity of our constitutional situation there is very little that the Scottish parliament can do to challenge the Retained EU Law Bill.  

    I think some of the things they can do to approach it is by keeping as much Retained EU Law in devolved areas as possible before that cliff-edge happens, and that is definitely what they will be focusing their attention on. There is actually also legislation in Scotland called the Continuity Act that is all about trying to keep pace with the EU. But even that is difficult to retain because it’s difficult to have higher standards in one part of the UK than in another, particularly in Scotland rather than England. In many ways England sets the standards and Scotland must follow suit across lots of different areas. I’m talking about Scotland as that is what I know, but I also know a lot of the same issues apply in Wales and Northern Ireland.  


    Richard Fieldhouse asked this question to Gareth Lloyd-Johnson and received this answer:  

    Q. Could you outline some of the implications for workplace / workers' rights please?

    A. I think it’s just to reiterate that point, but as other speakers said it’s slightly difficult as we don’t know exactly what laws we are going to be dealing with. But certainly, higher standards of safety for workers is not the outcome we expect. Also, the problem is as I said we are blocking ourselves out of the science community, so we won’t necessarily have the data on the effects on workers going forward. So not only are we losing what was previously known, we are being blocked out of negotiations and from data in the future. Plus if changes are made in Europe, we can take this bill as a measure that future laws will be watered down before they meet our legislation putting our workers at further risk.


    John Handford asked this question to Richard Kilpatrick and received this answer:  

    Q. If the sunset clause is enacted, can a new bill reverse the effects by negating the first bill?

    A. Yes, constitutionally yes. A new government is never bound by the previous. But we obviously need to defeat the sunset clause by 2023 first and we are leaning quite heavily on the Lords now given that that amendment did not pass at the Commons stage.


    Throughout the webinar, participants showed interest in getting more involved with the next part of the ‘Save our Standards’ campaign including contacting Lords before the second reading on Monday 6th February 2023. Participants of the webinar will be happy to hear that following this discussion our team personally contacted all Lords who were down to attend the debate. This resulted in the vast majority of the 54 Lords picking apart the bill and dismissing it in its current form.  

    Here are a few of our favourites, you can read:  

    • Lord Heseltine's (President of the European Movement and Deputy Prime-Minister under Marget Thatcher) response to the bill here 
    • Baroness Ludford’s (Liberal Democrat) response to the bill here 
    • Baroness Chapman’s (Labour) response to the bill here  

    Thank you again to everyone who attended the webinar, for your great questions and unique ideas on how we can take this campaign even further.  

    To everyone who was unable to make it you can watch the full webinar here.  


    Emma Knaggs 

    Head of Grassroots Engagement EMUK  

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

    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. 

    Save Our Standards by sharing this on Facebook.

    Save Our Standards by sharing this on Twitter.


    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.