European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:18 pm on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:18 pm, 7th September 2017

My right hon. Friend is entirely right—it is a point I will elaborate on later—and the editor of the Evening Standard should know that from his own experience.

The key point of this Bill is to avoid significant and serious gaps in our statute book. It ensures that consumers can be clear about their protection, employees can be clear about their rights, and businesses can be clear about the rules that regulate their trade. Workers’ rights and consumer and environmental protections will be enforceable through the UK courts, which are renowned the world over. The Bill provides certainty as to how the law will apply after we leave the European Union, and ensures that individuals and businesses will continue to be able to find redress when problems arise. Without this Bill, all those things would be put at risk.

The Bill must be on the statute book in good time ahead of our withdrawal so that the statutory instruments my right hon. Friend John Redwood referred to, which will flow from the Bill, can be made in time for exit day—the House will have time to look at them—and so that we are in a position to take control of our laws from day one.

The Bill provides a clear basis for our negotiation with the European Union by ensuring continuity and clarity in our laws without prejudice to the ongoing negotiations. Without this legislation, a smooth and orderly exit would be impossible. The shape of any interim period will need to be determined by the negotiations, but we cannot await the completion of negotiations before ensuring that there is legal certainty and continuity at the point of our exit. To do so would be reckless.