The start of the 2016 Conservative Party Conference would have been out of place without two announcements about the UK and Gibraltar’s exit from the European union (Brexit)
The start of the 2016 Conservative Party Conference would have been out of place without two announcements about the UK and Gibraltar’s exit from the European union (Brexit):
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is the essential “get-out” clause that has to be triggered. This is the one that has been in the news as it is the formal action that starts the separation procedings. After Article 50 has been triggered, the UK and Gibraltar have a period of two years, during which time they will not be subject to any EU Treaties. This can be extended if necessary and subject to the agreement of the remaining member states.
On 2 October 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May said she will press the trigger in the first quarter of 2017, i.e. by March.
Serving Article 50 is easy. It is the negotiations and trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world that is going to take up the time. Plus, there is the consideration that anything along the way can be vetoed by any of the remaining 27 member states.
The Great Repeal Bill
To be honest, this is the most interesting bit, as the devil is always in the detail. Also, on 2 October 2016, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, David Davis MP, said that important exiting legislation would be announced in the next Queen’s Speech. The “Great Repeal Bill” will do two things:
1. It will repeal the European Communities Act (ECA) 1972. This is the legislation that took us into Europe in the first place and is the one that requires us to interpret European law into domestic legislation. For example, parental leave legislation stemmed from an EU directive, interpreted in Great Britain and Northern Ireland separately. The ECA also makes all domestic legislation subject to being overruled by Europe if they disagree with it. Repealing the ECA will mean the legislation set domestically will be the legislation that applies, without the possibility of things being escalated to the of the European Court of Justice (EJC).
2. The Repeal Bill will also write into domestic legislation anything that has not previously been written in. I would imagine this will be a massive task. This part of the bill will take effect from the day after we leave the EU, thereby ensuring continuity of rights and practices. Once in domestic legislation, it will then be up to successive governments to add, remove or amend bits as they see fit.
Brexit means Brexit, according to Mrs May, and we all go out at the same time. Quite what the devolved administrations will make of this is another thing, plus the legislative arguments that are bound to follow.
However, it will be nice to see domestic legislation fully up to date without all these cross-references to EU treaties and directives. Brexiteer or Bremainer, this has to be positive.