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House of Commons Library: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Briefing


The House of Commons Library have produced a summary briefing on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, (also called ‘the Great Repeal Bill’). The Bill is the main piece of legislation which will repeal the source of European law in the UK, and provide the Government with the power to alter European law in the UK using secondary legislation.

As the briefing notes, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is the most constitutionally significant Bill introduced since the original Bill for the European Communities Act in 1972.

The Bill repeals the European Communities Act 1972, and creates a new body of law, ‘retained EU law’ which will consist of the EU regulations currently in power in the UK. These will continue to function on Exit Day (the day the UK officially leaves the EU) and be subsequently amended by secondary legislation.

With respect to devolution, the Bill changes the source of legislative competence. Currently, devolved government cannot legislate contrary to EU law. Post Exit Day, this will change so that devolved governments cannot legislate contrary to retained EU law, which will be under the competence of the UK Government.

If you would like to read the briefing on the Bill in full, it can be downloaded from the House of Commons Library site.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is currently going through its second readings in the House of Commons on the 07 September 2017 and the 11 September 2017. You can track its progress here.