Monday, September 25, 2017 | ePaper

Britain starts overhauling legal set-up for Brexit

  • Print


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May remains in power despite failing to win an outright majority last month in an election she called.

AFP, London :
 The British government on Thursday begins the mammoth task of overhauling its legal set-up in time for Brexit, as a top official warned the government was woefully unprepared for withdrawal from the European Union.
The "Repeal Bill" will pave the way for existing European Union law to be converted into British law so laws remain the same when Britain leaves the bloc.
The thousands of items of legislation can then be amended or repealed by British lawmakers. Brexit Minister David Davis said the bill will ensure the United Kingdom will have a "fully functioning legal system" on leaving the EU. "This bill means that we will be able to exit the European Union with maximum certainty, continuity and control," he said in a statement. But overhauling more than four decades of legislation through scrapping the 1972 European Communities Act is no small task, with opposition parties planning amendments to the bill.
"We have very serious issues with the government's approach, and unless the government addresses those issues, we will not be supporting the bill," the Labour main opposition's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer told The Guardian newspaper.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "This will be hell," referring to the parliamentary debate ahead of Britain kickstarting Brexit proceedings. Opposition parties are particularly incensed by the government's proposal to use special executive authority-dubbed "Henry VIII powers"-to push through laws without full parliamentary scrutiny.
Backed up by a deal with Northern Ireland's 10 Democratic Unionist lawmakers, Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government has a working majority of just 13 in the 650-member House of Commons.
The government also published position papers on other major issues, after being urged by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to do so ahead of more exit talks next week.
"We need to know on which points we agree and on which points we disagree, so that we can negotiate in earnest," Barnier said in Brussels. "We cannot remain idle as the clock is ticking," he added.
Britain duly outlined its stance on nuclear materials, with the kingdom leaving the European Atomic Energy Community, but wanting to continue working closely with Euratom to help ensure a smooth exit.
"The UK and the Euratom community have a strong mutual interest in ensuring close co-operation," the position paper said.
There was also a paper on judicial matters-a significant hurdle as London and Brussels continue to disagree on whether the European Court of Justice will continue to have jurisdiction. In Brussels, Barnier was to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which the party claimed "signals Labour's growing importance to the Brexit process in the wake of the general election" last month, in which the Conservatives lost their majority.
Barnier was also due to meet nationalist Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones of Labour for private talks-though he was clear negotiations could only take place with the British government.
"Our priority is protecting Scotland's vital interests and building consensus against an extreme Brexit outside the single market," said a spokesman for Sturgeon.
Meanwhile the head of Britain's public spending watchdog blasted failures in government leadership over Brexit and raised fears about "vague" exit plans.
Amyas Morse said ministers were not delivering a unified front on challenges of quitting the EU and warned the response could fall apart like a "chocolate orange" at the first tap.
The National Audit Office chief said that failure to prepare for customs, it would be a "horror show" if officials were forced to process imports and exports manually.
A government spokesman said: "The whole government is alive to the task ahead and working together to deliver on the will of the British people."

More News For this Category

Abe announces snap election amid worries over N Korea crisis

Abe announces snap election amid worries over N Korea crisis

Reuters, Tokyo :Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would dissolve parliament's lower house on Thursday for a snap election, as he seeks a fresh mandate to overcome "a

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

AFP, Beirut :US-led coalition strikes near the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold Raqa in March killed at least 84 civilians, including dozens of children, Human Rights Watch alleged Monday.The

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

AFP, Riyadh :With iconic buildings bathed in green light and planned cultural shows, concerts and fireworks, Saudi Arabia geared up to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the

News In Brief

N Korea, Venezuela, Chad among 8 countries on new US travel banAFP, WashingtonPresident Donald Trump issued a new travel ban Sunday that saw North Korea, Venezuela and Chad among

Abbas to seek a single, binational state with Israel

Abbas to seek a single, binational state with Israel

AP, Jerusalem :Overshadowed by last week's showdown between the U.S. and North Korea, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued an ominous warning in his address to the United Nations: With

Syrian army captures 44 towns, villages from IS in two weeks

Syrian army captures 44 towns, villages from IS in two weeks

Xinhua, Damascus :The Syrian army and allied fighters have captured 44 towns and villages in central and eastern Syria from Islamic State (IS) militants since Sept. 10, state news

Macron's popularity improving: Poll

Macron's popularity improving: Poll

Reuters, Paris  :Fewer French voters are dissatisfied with Emmanuel Macron's performance, a poll showed on Sunday, halting a recent slide in the popularity ratings of the French president in

Fighter jets, drones on table as Mattis visits key ally India

Fighter jets, drones on table as Mattis visits key ally India

AFP, New Delhi :Fighter jets, drone deals and shared concerns over Afghanistan's security look set to dominate the agenda when US Defense Secretary James Mattis visits India this week.Mattis

News In Brief

Iran launches war games near Iraqi Kurdistan borderReuters, Dubai Iranian forces have launched war games in an area near the border with Iraq's Kurdistan region, Iran's state media reported

Missile strike on US inevitable: N Korean FM

Missile strike on US inevitable: N Korean FM

AP, United Nations :North Korea's foreign minister told world leaders Saturday that U.S. President Donald Trump's insult calling leader Kim Jong Un "rocket man" makes "our rocket's visit to