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The News Line: News MPs SPLIT ON BREXIT BILL! OPENING the debate in the House of Commons on the EU Withdrawal Bill, Brexit Secretary, David Davis, said the bill was ‘the next step in the historic process of honouring that decision’ made in the EU referendum and will ensure that ‘on the day we leave, businesses know where they stand’.

Negotiations between the UK and the EU on the terms of exit are ongoing, with the European Union yesterday publishing its latest set of position papers, including one on the crucial issue of the future of the Irish border.

The government has insisted that the withdrawal legislation, informally known as the repeal bill, will provide legal and practical certainty for the UK as it prepares to quit the 28-member bloc. While overturning the 1972 European Communities Act which took the UK into the then European Economic Community, the legislation will ensure all direct EU laws applying to the UK will be transferred onto the statute book and continue to have legal force after the UK’s withdrawal.

MPs were considering the general principles of the bill at a Second Reading yesterday. The text of the draft law begins by saying that it is: ‘A bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other provision in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.’ This would end the supremacy of EU law in Britain.

The bill includes special executive powers for ministers to amend laws being transferred to take account of the changed circumstances of Brexit, commonly referred to as the ‘Henry VIII powers’. Officials estimate that between 800 and 1,000 of these delegated powers, which cannot be used to raise taxes or amend human rights laws, will be needed.

The powers would expire two years after Brexit. The first vote is due next Monday. If the government is defeated in that vote the stage will be set for PM May’s resignation as premier and for a crisis general election that will plunge British capitalism into its greatest ever crisis.


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