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

If my right hon. and learned Friend will forgive me, I will not for the moment.

Let me now talk the House through the Bill’s main provisions. The first clause repeals the European Communities Act on the day we leave the European Union, ending the supremacy of EU law in the UK and preventing new EU law from automatically flowing into UK law after that point. When the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson led the debate here in May 1967 on the question of the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Communities, he said:

“It is important to realise that Community law is mainly concerned with industrial and commercial activities, with corporate bodies rather than private individuals. By far the greater part of our domestic law would remain unchanged after entry.”—[Official Report, 8 May 1967;
Vol. 746, c. 1088.]

I think the passage of time has shown that he was mistaken. European Union law touches on all aspects of our lives, in a far wider way than the drafters of the European Communities Act could have envisaged. That means the Bill we have before us today has a difficult task: it must rebuild United Kingdom law in a way that makes sense outside the European Union.