David Davis lays out the plan to end supremacy of European law

 
Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Brexit secretary David Davis has put forward the government's plans to convert European directives and laws into British statutes through the so-called Great Repeal Bill.

Presenting a white paper on the government's plans, Davis told MPs today that the UK would seek a "smooth and orderly" Brexit, with the ambition to move over EU legislation helping to provide certainty to British businesses.

Davis said the Bill, which would come into force the day the UK leaves the European Union, would end the "supremacy" of EU law.

"Our laws will then be made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and interpreted not by judges in Luxembourg but by judges across the United Kingdom," he said.

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The Brexit secretary also noted that so-called Henry VIII powers would be "time-limited" to prevent the government using the Bill to repeatedly revise European laws without the scrutiny of parliament.

And he stressed that the Bill would provide "no future rule" for the European Court of Justice in the interpretation of UK laws, but said that British judges would be expected to make reference to European case law as establishing "on the day we leave the European Union".

Davis added that ECJ rulings would be granted "the same status as decisions of our own supreme court".

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Government amendments are expected to need between 800 and 1,000 statutory instruments.

However, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer argued the plans would hand the government "sweeping" powers.

"It proposes a power to use delegated legislation to correct and thus, change, primary legislation," he said.

"In those circumstances one might expect some pretty rigorous safeguards to the use of these sweeping powers. But none are found in the white paper."

It comes after Theresa May yesterday provided notification of the beginning of Brexit talks, dispatching a letter to European Council president Donald Tusk.

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