CONFUSED ABOUT THE REPEAL BILL? SO WAS I, HERE’S WHAT I LEARNT.
During the early hours of this morning, MPs met in Westminster in order to vote on whether or not the Repeal Bill should be passed or not.
The Repeal Bill or The European Union Withdrawl Bill as it known by its official title is a 66-page bill, that aims to implement all European law into UK law, to ensure that we do not fall into a lawless society at midnight on 29th March 2019 when the UK officially leaves the European Union.
The name, as you can see, is a little misleading as the bill doesn’t actually repeal anything and instead implements all current EU law into UK law.
Theresa May called for this bill to be passed, claiming that it would bring some order and certainty leading up to and after Brexit.
The bill has caused up quite a stir in Westminster, with Labour vowing to vote against it and with Jeremy Corbyn warning all party members that they must get behind voting against the bill.
Initially, I thought that Mr Corbyn was in the wrong to claim all MPs get behind him, to an extent I still believe that each MP was entitled to vote the way they choose, after all that’s democracy and Jeremy Corbyn has himself been defiant against the wishes of his leaders and chosen to exercise his right to vote the way he wants.
When I first heard about the Repeal Bill, I was very confused about what it was and what it set out to do and why Labour and the left were so against it. It seemed to make logical sense to me that we have a safety net by implements all EU Law into British Law.
After all, we wouldn’t want the Tories taking away our human rights, workers rights and all the laws that have been in place to serve and protect us, once Brexit is finalised.
EU laws cover all sorts of things like environmental regulation, workers’ rights and financial services, so if they were not transferred, all these regulations would no longer have legal standing in the UK. There are already 12,000 EU regulations and 6,000 EU regulations in force, and more are being added all the time.
Therefore, it made perfect sense to me that this bill should be passed and with my limited knowledge on the issue, I was rather annoyed at the threats from the Labour front bench, towards any Labour MPs who voted in favour of this bill.
That was until I actually learned what was so wrong about this bill…
Everything Wrong With The Repeal Bill
It’s no wonder that Theresa May chose to take the word great out of ‘The Great Repeal Bill’ because, when you dig deep down, there is simply nothing great about the bill.
In fact, Theresa May wants people to think that this is a simple matter of not leaving us in a lawless society come 29th March 2019. What she doesn’t want you to know, is that the Repeal Bill will actually give her and the conservative government more power and more control in what legislation is kept, scrapped or changed, behind closed doors and without parliamentary or public approval.
On the surface, it looks like the bill is there to protect us and ensure all our workers, financial, personal, private and human rights are kept in place and protected. When you dig deeper, you realise this isn’t the case.
You may have heard people saying that this bill gives Theresa May Henry VIII powers.
What Are Henry VIII Powers?
Henry The 8th Powers is a way of saying that the Repeal Bill passes greater powers on to Theresa May. Some people claim that these powers, allow Theresa May, to run the United Kingdom like a dictatorship. Passing, editing, amending and throwing out laws as she sees fit.
This all boils down to what’s called PRIMARY and SECONDARY legislation in the UK.
Primary laws are Acts of Parliament and go through a long, line-by-line process of approval by MPs and the House of Lords.
Secondary legislation is ‘take it or leave it’. There’s no chance to edit them, and in some cases (when they go through ‘the negative procedure’) they actually become law before MPs get to challenge them.
Primary laws are much more powerful than secondary laws. Secondary laws, rightfully so, can be quashed by the courts, primary laws can not.
Yet a Henry VIII powers lets Theresa May, the PM, make a secondary law that edits a primary law.
The people who voted leave during the referendum did so to take back control of our laws and legislation, most people did not want to be dictated to by the European Union and have legislation forced upon us that the British people never voted for, however, with these Henry VIII powers now passed to Theresa May, it looks like we’ll face the threat of the Prime Minister having free reign over the legislation that stays and goes once we leave the EU.
It is now easy to see why Jeremy Corbyn asked Labour MPs to get behind voting against this bill being passed in its current state.
While on the surface it seems good, as you can see from digging a little deeper, it needs serious amendments to ensure our future rights and laws that protect us, are kept and not messed about with behind closed doors.
It may be easy to openly criticize these MPs, however, as stated Corbyn has himself defied his leaders before. Some of these MPs may have great personal convictions, they may be representing their constituents or there may be other legitimate factors to why they voted the way they did.
It is vital to remember that this bill is controversial and as discussed, there’s a lot of debate on how to handle this. With time quickly slipping away and deadlock in negotiations with the EU, a lot of MPs may have seen this as a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. A lawless society or having these laws in place, with the risk of handing further power to the Tories.
It’s key to note that there wasn’t any alternative on the table and voting this down, not only puts us at risk of facing a lawless society, it also could further stall the already difficult process of leaving the EU.
That’s not to suggest these MPs were correct in their decision, however, calls and outcries to have these MPs sacked or removed from the Labour party, are a little harsh. This issue is not as black and white as it seems, therefore some slack must be given to the MPs who defied Jeremy Corbyn and voted in favour of passing this bill.