• Sunday, April 21, 2024
businessday logo


Theresa May unveils Brexit-Day plan for ‘Great Repeal’ of EU law


U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday will unveil her most detailed plan yet for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, saying she’ll repeal a 1972 law that gives direct effect to all EU legislation.

The planned “Great Repeal Bill” will abolish the 1972 European Communities Act, while converting all EU laws governed by it into domestic laws on the day Britain eventually completes its EU pullout, May’s Conservative Party said in an statement e-mailed on the eve of the party’s annual conference. The government will then be able to amend and repeal individual laws if deemed necessary.

May is under increasing pressure from politicians and businesses to reveal details of how her government intends to proceed with Brexit negotiations. Sunday’s announcement begins to flesh out how she’ll go about Brexit, without providing an indication of her main asks of the bloc’s other 27 members. May has repeatedly said she won’t formally activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty this year — the formal trigger for two years of exit discussions to begin.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, May said the legislation will make Britain “a sovereign and independent country again.” The planned repeal bill will be introduced in the next Queen’s speech, expected in April or May.

‘Back in Control’

“As we prepare for those negotiations in Europe, we also need to prepare for the impact of Brexit on domestic law,” David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, will tell conference delegates, according to the party’s statement.

“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,” Davis said.

Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn on Sept. 29 signaled he may not be able to make new investments in Britain without a government pledge for compensation in the event of adverse consequences stemming from Brexit. And Vodafone Group Plc has said it’ll consider moving its headquarters to the continent if Britain doesn’t preserve access to the EU’s single market.

“We still know nothing about the government’s plans for our new relationship with the EU, whether over trade, security or migration,” Phil Wilson, an opposition Labour Party lawmaker said in a statement e-mailed by the pro-EU Open Britain campaign. “As car manufacturers have made clear, it is essential that the U.K. remains a member of the single market to protect investment and jobs. This is what businesses want to hear the prime minister commit to.”

Davis, May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will all address the party conference in Birmingham, central England, on Sunday, in an afternoon session entitled “Global Britain: Making a Success of Brexit.” The gathering runs through Wednesday.