Over the summer, I have heard from many of my constituents, who have shared concerns over the Retained EU Law Act. I hope to provide some further background to this and address some of the worries raised.
The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brought a large number of EU laws and regulation into our domestic law. This was called Retained EU Law (REUL), and had special status, reflecting the supremacy of EU law, European Court of Justice case law and EU legal principles. In September 2022, the Government introduced legislation to abolish this special status and will enable the Government, via Parliament, to amend more easily, repeal and replace REUL.
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act means that almost all REUL is automatically revoked at the end of 2023. The remainder of law will continue in force without the need to pass extra legislation. By making it clear which regulations will be removed from our statute book, businesses and all those affected by these laws will have certainty. The Government will retain the vitally important powers in the Act that allow it to continue to amend REUL, so more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after further assessment and consultation.
I have been assured that the Government is committed to upholding workers’ and consumers' rights, as well as environmental protections, following the UK’s departure from the EU. The Working Time Directive has been transposed into UK law; our consumer protections will remain some of the best in the world; and the Government has recently legislated to strengthen environmental protection in the form of the Environment Act 2021.
I want to see meaningful reform which not only removes unnecessary red tape, but allows us to tailor regulation to our needs and for the UK to secure its own path. Already, over 1,000 laws have been revoked or reformed since Britain's exit from the EU. This Act will revoke around 600 more and other legislation will revoke a further 500. The Act now provides certainty for business by making it clear which regulations will be removed from the statue book, instead of highlighting only the REUL that would be saved. Crucially, the powers included in the Act that allow us to continue changing REUL have been retained. As such, more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after proper assessment and consultation.