UK plan to rip up thousands of laws gets green light in House of Commons

Houses of Parliament, London
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The Conservative government’s bill that could rip up thousands of retained EU laws passed its latest reading in the House of Commons on 18 January. If successful, the legislation would put power in the hands of ministers to do away with thousands of regulations and safeguards related to the environment and more.

Repeal bill passes to next stage

The retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill passed its report and third reading stages in the Commons. The legislation promises to sunset any retained EU laws that the government chooses not to preserve by the end of 2023.

There are at least hundreds – if not thousands – of environmental regulations among the retained EU laws that are at risk. The legislation could affect standards in a number of other areas too, such as workers rights and food safety.

In all, the bill risks the sunsetting of around 4,000 laws by the end of 2023, according to the Guardian, unless ministers actively choose to preserve them.

Some MPs proposed amendments to the bill, in order to empower parliament to scrutinise the repeals and safeguard key legislation. These were “comfortably defeated”, Politico reported.

297 MPs voted for the bill and 238 against during the session on 18 January. That means it passed and is now in the hands of the House of Lords.

A costly, dangerous and undemocratic plan

As the Canary reported, the Wildlife and Countryside Link recently released analysis that indicated the repeal of environment-related laws could ultimately cost the UK around £82bn over 30 years. Link is a coalition of environmental organisations from across England.

Read on...

The £82bn price tag relates to damage that the removal or weakening of regulations in four environmental areas could lead to, namely air quality, water pollution, chemical regulations and protection of wildlife habitats. Its CEO Dr Richard Benwell warned:

Prevention of air and water pollution, protection of precious wildlife and habitats, precautions against hazardous chemical use – they are all put at risk by the Retained EU Law Bill. If long-standing protection for nature is removed or weakened, the economic consequences could run into the billions.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, who proposed the amendment on parliamentary scrutiny of the repeals, also told the Guardian that:

The consequences of accidentally deleting laws that affect people’s lives are huge. This bill represents a massive opportunity for a cock up, as a minister will hit the delete button on something they wouldn’t realise they have deleted.

Some Conservative MPs have raised concerns over the legislation too, including former Brexit secretary David Davis. Green MP Caroline Lucas, meanwhile, shared her thoughts on social media after the commons vote. She described the legislation as “reckless, costly & anti-democratic”.

Some members of the lords will undoubtedly raise similar concerns as it passes through various stages in that house. The date of the first lords debate is yet to be decided.

Featured image via Hartmut Schmidt Heidelberg / Wikimedia, cropped to 770×403, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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  • Show Comments
    1. This is what British people voted for by choosing to leave the EU and by repeatedly choosing Conservative governments. Leaving the EU did not have to mean deregulation, as we the people could have chosen to improve the quality of our regulatory systems, but instead we chose the short term financial interests of businesses over our own health, the natural world, our children’s safety… We the working class are far larger in number than the ruling class. If we wanted to, we could take over.

      1. British People did not Vote to leave the EU Scotland and NI Voted overwhelmingly to Remain but as is usual in every single VOTE OR REFERENDUM the English and Welsh with tens of millions of more Votes than any other member of this Diabolical UK We are and as long as We the Scottish People remain part of this Sick Agreement allegedly a Union of Equals but only if the English Government in Westminster say so. Therefore your comment is so far wide of the mark it missed everything, it saddens me to print the following as I have friends and Family in England but this Referendum was initiated by RICH TORIES and a RACIST TORY and UKIP PARTY it was unbelievably STUPID of the Working Classes of England and Wales to Vote Leave and sadly the only reasonable answer to the way they Voted is the Majority of the People of England and Wales ARE RACISTS. England is not Britain it just happens to have the Largest Population it is a Nation who RULE a Union of Equals the United Kingdom with an IRON FIST.

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