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Brexit Bill clears first hurdle, British Parliament backs bill to end supremacy of European Law in UK

The proposal provides for the repeal of the 1972 Act, ending the supremacy of EU law in the UK

Reported by: IANS, London [ Updated: September 12, 2017 11:28 IST ]
PM May presented the Bill, also known as the Great Repeal
PM May presented the Bill, also known as the Great Repeal Bill Photo:PTI

A bill aimed at bringing an end to the supremacy of European Law in the UK once Brexit is carried out, cleared an initial hurdle on Tuesday after a vote in parliament.

With 326 votes in favour and 290 against, the House of Commons approved the bill on the withdrawal from the European Union.

Also known as the Great Repeal Bill, it was presented by British Prime Minister Theresa May, Efe news reported.

The Conservative Party, which does not hold an absolute majority, had the support of its coalition partner, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), while opposition legislators mostly rejected the bill.

The proposal, which was debated on Thursday in the House of Commons, provides for the repeal of the European Communities Act of 1972, which authorised the UK's integration into the European Economic Community, ending the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

The bill will also incorporate thousands of Community laws into the British legal system in order to avoid a regulatory vacuum when the UK leaves the EU, scheduled for March 29, 2019.

In the coming weeks, the bill will go through a committee phase and a third reading in the House of Commons before proceeding to the House of Lords.

"A vote against this bill is a vote for a chaotic exit from the European Union," Brexit Secretary David Davis warned.

Davis, the UK's chief representative in Brexit negotiations with Brussels, said that if the Executive failed to approve the Great Repeal Bill, the country "will face a damaging cliff-edge" and will be plunged into "disruption".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson echoed these sentiments, saying that "people who vote against it will be effectively voting to frustrate Brexit by producing a completely chaotic result".

 

Most members of the opposition Labour Party denounced the bill, taking issue with the extra powers Ministers would be granted, which would allow them to modify laws without parliamentary approval.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer, issued a statement calling the result "deeply disappointing", adding that the "bill is an affront to parliamentary democracy and a naked power grab by government Ministers".

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