Brexit Must Not Be Used as Excuse to Amend Laws, U.K. Lords Say

  • Great Repeal Bill will bring EU rules into British law
  • House of Lords panel urges Parliament to take scrutiny powers

U.K. lawmakers are warning Theresa May’s government not to use Brexit as an excuse to amend laws without proper scrutiny.

May has promised a “Great Repeal Bill,” which despite its name will have the effect of writing all European Union rules into British law. The aim is to ensure continuity for businesses and the bill is expected to include powers allowing the government to modify the rules. 

But the House of Lords Constitution Committee, in a report published Tuesday, insisted that Parliament is fully consulted. Ministers should be required to sign a declaration that any modifications do the bare minimum necessary to translate the EU rule, it said.

"The intention should be to convert the existing body of EU law into U.K. law with as few changes as possible,” Ian Lang, the chairman of the committee, said in a statement. “The government may need to be granted wide-ranging powers to accomplish that task. Those powers should not, however, be used to pick and choose which elements of EU law to keep or replace. That should be done only through primary legislation that is subject to proper Parliamentary scrutiny.”

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