Following the Prime Minister’s historic statement in the House yesterday officially triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that will begin the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, Robin Walker was back in the Chamber again today as the Government set out its White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill entitled ‘Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union’. The Worcester MP, who was in Brussels last week for talks with MEPs was involved in the preparation of the Article 50 letter and spoke to key MPs across the political spectrum in all parts of the UK after the PM’s statement.

As a Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union, the Worcester MP was present on the front bench to witness the speech by the Secretary of State, David Davis MP who spoke at length about the bill that will return sovereignty to the British people and Parliament.

The White Paper provides legal clarity over Britain’s exit from the European Union by repealing the European Communities Act 1972, converting EU law into British law on the date of departure and making changes to EU law that would not otherwise function as it is converted into UK law. Crucially it also provides stability and certainty both to reassure businesses and to underpin negotiations on market access.

The Great Repeal Bill will lock all rights guaranteed by the European Union into British law. The process will ensure that the same rules and laws will apply after we leave the EU as they did before, from the moment we leave. After the UK has left the EU and sovereignty has returned to the UK Parliament, it will be able to decide which elements of law to keep, change or repeal.

As the Government begins the process of negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union, the White paper gives much needed certainty to businesses, investors and consumers as well as a commitment to protecting the workers’ rights and maintains the Government’s commitment to equality and top environmental standards.

Launching the White Paper today, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis said:

“This White Paper lays out a pragmatic and principled approach to converting EU law into UK law on the day we leave the EU — giving businesses, workers and investors as much certainty as possible.”

“It also means the negotiation over our future economic partnership with the EU will be unlike any other in history, because we will start from a point of exact equivalence.”

“After that, it will be for Parliament to determine what EU legislation it wants to amend, repeal or improve — finally ending the supremacy of EU lawmakers.”

“Our plan will also give the UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures the ability to make changes to law where necessary, so that our legal system continues to operate correctly on exit day.”

Speaking after the statement, Robin said:

“This Bill will empower Parliament to make the changes necessary to ensure our law operates effectively at the domestic level and at the point of our exit in two years’ time will put the sovereignty and supremacy of our Parliament beyond. There is a lot of work to be done between then and now but this bill will provide a strong basis for reaching the kind of comprehensive partnership that our Prime Minister has set out to achieve in her Article 50 letter.”

“Yesterday was a momentous day and one that some will want to celebrate, but importantly it was not just a day for those who voted for Brexit. The ambition of achieving a strong partnership between the EU and the UK going forward after Britain leaves, is one that many of those who voted to Remain can support. I said the day after the referendum that all people of goodwill should come together to make this process a success and I believe that the reasonable tone of the Prime Minister’s letter and the focus on stability in our approach to the Great Repeal Bill can help to bring people together as we move forward. We’re focused on making sure we get a positive outcome, which is in the UK’s interests but should also be win-win for the EU as well.”

“From a diplomatic perspective this moment gives us a great opportunity to ‘reset’ some of the discussion from one which has been somewhat confrontational when it played out through the press to one which is a frank and open one in the face to face discussions we will be engaged in going forward. I believe that passing the milestone of article 50 will allow us to get on with vital engagement with the 27 countries of the EU as well as with the EU institutions. I am looking forward to playing my part in those negotiations and on getting the best deal for the UK.”

 

ENDS

To read the Prime Minister’s letter on Article 50 see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-letter-to-donald-tusk-triggering-article-50

To read the Prime Minister’s statement please see

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-commons-statement-on-triggering-article-50

To read the Government’s White Paper please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/604516/Great_repeal_bill_white_paper_accessible.pdf

To read the Department for Exiting the European Union’s release on the White Paper please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/certainty-and-stability-for-uk-businesses-as-negotiations-begin-on-new-relationship-with-europe