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Brexit is go: May will turn clock back on EU laws

Lynsey Barber
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A bill in the Queen's Speech is the first major action on Brexit (Source: Getty)

Theresa May has promised to turn back the clock on European laws with a new bill which will be introduced in Parliament next year.

The Prime Minister will fire the starting gun on repealing EU laws first introduced more than four decades ago, with the bill expected to be announced in next year's Queen's Speech.

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It's the first significant move by the newly installed PM to prepare for the process of leaving the EU following the shock vote to exit in June.

The "Great Repeal Bill" would repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and would come into effect within the two year period for leaving Europe which commences with invoking Article 50, something May is expected to do next year.

It would mean that European law would no longer trump British laws, however, EU laws would be enshrined into British law as part of the bill, giving lawmakers the opportunity to pick and choose what EU laws can be ditched or kept down the line on a case by case basis for each piece of legislation.

"The Prime Minister has been clear that she won’t start the formal negotiations about our exit before the end of the year," Brexit minister David Davis will say in a speech at the Conservative Party conference on Sunday.

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"As we prepare for those negotiations in Europe, we also need to prepare for the impact of Brexit on domestic law. It’s very simple. At the moment we leave, Britain must be back in control. And that means EU law must cease to apply. To ensure continuity, we will take a simple approach. EU law will be transposed into domestic law, wherever practical, on exit day. It will be for elected politicians here to make the changes to reflect the outcome of our negotiation and our exit. That is what people voted for: power and authority residing once again with the sovereign institutions of our own country."

In an interview with the Sunday Times, May said: “This marks the first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again. It will return power and authority to the elected institutions of our country. It means that the authority of EU law in Britain will end.”

She also indicated she would not wait until after German elections in September to trigger Article 50 as some had urged her to do and ruled out a General Election in the UK before 2020.

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