Barbara Keeley MP


The Great Repeal Bill and Brexit

I appreciate that a number of constituents have concerns about the extent of the powers that have been outlined in the Conservatives' Great Repeal Bill and I and my Labour colleagues will hold the Government to account on this Bill. Labour has pledged to replace the Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill.

The Conservative Government has said that this Bill will convert EU law into UK law. They say that the Bill will then allow Parliament to repeal, amend or replace any EU-derived laws as necessary in the future. I do not underestimate the task of converting EU law into domestic law but we now know that the Conservative Government also intend to include sweeping new powers in this Bill to allow their Ministers to make changes to other laws.

I believe it would be wrong for there to be any changes to EU-derived laws without proper Parliamentary scrutiny. There should be no detrimental change to workers' rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections as a result of Brexit. These should be protected without qualifications and limitations or sunset clauses.

Not only should existing rights be protected, it is important that we make sure UK rights keep pace with the EU after we leave too. I would also like to see all relevant and substantial rights in the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights converted into domestic law. However, the Conservative Government has ruled this out. It is for these reasons that the Labour manifesto I stood on at the recent General Election pledged to replace the Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill.

I also feel strongly that there should be a presumption throughout this process that devolved matters will remain devolved as powers and responsibilities transfer from the EU to the UK. Brexit should not be an excuse to hoard powers in Westminster.

I am pleased that the new Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, will be meeting Government officials to establish the role Greater Manchester can have in securing a good Brexit deal.

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