Theresa May is set to announce her intention to move all Brussels laws and regulations onto the British statute books before the country leaves the European Union, paving the way for the return of parliamentary sovereignty.
The Prime Minister will use her speech to the Tory party conference tomorrow to announce the repealing of the 1972 European Communities Act, which is the current vehicle by which EU laws are implemented in the UK.
As part of the process she will transfer all current Brussels laws and regulations onto parliament’s statute books instead, with MPs set to spent the next few decades going through them one by one and deciding which ones they do and do not want to keep.
The announcement is the new PM’s first firm commitment on Brexit since moving into No 10 in July, and gives an insight into how she plans to go about handling the monumentally complex process of severing ties with Brussels.
Tellingly the bold move indicates that the Government is clearly not ruling out a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ as the UK would need to remain signed up to European diktats as part of any deal to stay in the single market.
It is also being seen as the first major attempt to end the 44-year supremacy of EU law in Britain and hand back ultimate control over the nation’s affairs to elected MPs.
Announcing the move, Mrs May told the Sunday Times: “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.”
As part of the process a new “Great Repeal Bill” will be introduced in parliament as early as next year. If and when it is passed by MPs it will formally sever one of the UK’s key legal links with Brussels upon the country exiting the bloc.
Repealing the European Communities Act was a key pledge at the heart of the Vote Leave movement during the EU refrendum campaign, and Mrs May’s commitment to it is likely to reassure Brexiteers worried about any possible attempts to backslide on the result.
The move is also designed to show the Government’s critics that it does have a plan over how to handle Brexit, and will calm nerves that workers’ rights secured via Brussels, such as parental leave and automatic holiday, will be secured for the forseeable future.
Tonight Tory MP and leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg described the move as “the sensible way to proceed”.