.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, July 14, 2017

Is the Great Repeal Bill a Great White Snark?

What else can you call a piece of potential legislation that seeks the elusive outcome of Brexit whilst rolling back or preying on the democratic advances of the last few decades around devolution and human rights?

Theresa May's Great Repeal Bill is an extraordinary power grab by Ministers intent on undermining democratically voted-on devolution settlements, whilst allowing them to indulge hobby horses such as attacking the enshrinement of human rights into UK law.

It makes Henry VIII's reformation look like a picnic in the park, whilst utilising mechanisms that the Tudor King initiated to effectively by-pass Parliament, where the Tories don't have a majority on key policy issues that have never been put before the electorate.

It is little wonder that the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have said that they cannot support the Bill, or that Human Rights Groups have expressed serious concerns. The Guardian reports on an extraordinary coalition between Wales' and Scotland' leading political parties::

In a joint statement, Sturgeon and Jones said: “We have repeatedly tried to engage with the UK government on these matters and have put forward constructive proposals about how we can deliver an outcome which will protect the interests of all the nations in the UK, safeguard our economies and respect devolution.

“Regrettably, the bill does not do this. Instead, it is a naked power grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution and could destabilise our economies.”

The government confirmed that it would seek the backing of Holyrood and the Welsh assembly for the aspects of the legislation that affect devolved powers, through a “legislative consent motion”. But Sturgeon and Jones made clear they would not offer their approval unless the legislation was substantially redrafted.

The government could still insist on pressing ahead – but doing so would underline the divisions within the United Kingdom, just as May battles to shore up her position and present a united front in Brussels.

Whilst, Human rights groups Amnesty International and Liberty have joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in urging the government to give further reassurances that human rights will not be undermined and, in particular, to incorporate the EU charter of fundamental rights into UK law:

Kerry Moscogiuri, Amnesty’s campaigns director‎, said: “It is now vital that Parliament ensures our hard-won human rights don’t diminish after Brexit. The broad powers that the repeal bill grants ministers to change our laws are dangerously vague; they must not be used to roll back human rights that are in place to protect us all.”

The legislation makes clear that “the charter of fundamental rights is not part of domestic law on or after exit day”. Government lawyers believe that will make little difference in practice, as the charter sets out rights that are already enshrined elsewhere in EU law and will brought into domestic law.

But Emmy Gibbs, of the anti-trafficking charity ATLEU, who used the charter to bring a case about mistreated workers in foreign embassies to the supreme court, said: “It is not right that the removal of the charter under the great repeal bill will make no difference to workers.

“Without the charter, our clients – who complained of unlawful discrimination and breach of working time regulations – would have been left without any remedy, because the UK’s state immunity law prevents them enforcing those rights in the employment tribunal.”

Theresa May's Government has achieved a remarkable first in uniting progressive forces against a regressive and badly thought-out piece of legislation in pursuit of a badly defined and poorly conceived outcome. If Brexit looked a mess before, today it looks downright sinister.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?