European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:11 pm on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green 2:11 pm, 7th September 2017

I am grateful for that intervention by my hon. Friend. I know he will be able to make a powerful case in support of the Bill, and he is right, but I will come back to that point.

The basis on which people are arguing—that there has never been a great sweep of powers coming through Henry VIII procedures—is completely and utterly wrong. The reason why I became so concerned about what was happening under the European Union treaties is that section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972 clearly states that all the rules and regulations coming through treaties

“are without further enactment to be given” immediate legal effect and

“shall be recognised and available in law”.

It goes on to say that

Her Majesty may by Order in Council”—

Order in Council, which is not the procedure in this Bill—

“and any designated Minister or department may by order, rules, regulations or scheme, make provision”.

We have sat with that for 40 years, and we have been content to let rules and regulations be made in that way.

To those who talk about rule-takers and rule-makers, such as my right hon. Friend Nicky Morgan, I say yes, that was the case up until the Maastricht treaty, when qualified majority voting came in. We became rule-takers under that provision, and there has never been a more powerful one in British legislative history. I just sound a cautionary note to some of my colleagues on either side of the House who go on about this being the first time; it is not so.