The Government’s bid to extract the UK from EU law in time for Brexit has passed its first Parliamentary test. The EU Withdrawal Bill was backed by MPs by 326 to 290 in a late-night vote despite critics saying it represented a power-grab by the government. The bill, which will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, now moves onto its next Parliamentary stage. Ministers sought to reassure MPs by considering calls for safeguards over their use of new powers.
Previously referred to as the Great Repeal Bill, the EU Withdrawal Bill overturns the 1972 European Communities Act which took the UK into the then European Economic Community.
It will also convert all existing EU laws into UK law, to ensure there are no gaps in legislation on Brexit day. Critics’ concerns centered on ministers giving themselves the power to make changes to laws during this process without consulting MPs.
The government said it needs to be able to make minor technical changes to ensure a smooth transition, but concerns were raised that ministers were getting sweeping powers to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny.