Why on earth does Henry the Eighth keep getting mentioned in relation to us leaving the European Union you may well ask. Well, it is all to do with the fact that the Great Repeal Bill which will Transfer the body of EU law into UK law will contain clauses which will allow amendment of these laws by delegated legislation rather than using a full act of Parliament. This is an entirely normal Parliamentary procedure and is used all the time. Just to give one example changes to benefits are often done by Statutory Instrument.
Although they are described as Henry VIII clauses what he did was to try and govern by simple Royal Proclamation. I have heard it described several times that the government are planning to change legislation without a vote in Parliament. This is simply not the case. Depending on the exact procedure used and just to make it more complicated there is more than one) the delegated legislation is debated and voted on in Committee and then the House of Commons as a whole can vote on it if it wishes when it comes before the House for approval.
Very few are voted on. By their very nature they are invariably technical in nature and are not contentious. Considering the amount of EU legislation it is inconceivable that delegated legislation will not be used.
It is worth noting that those who are complaining about the use of these so called Henry VIII powers never seemed to mind when we were obliged to carry out EU directives and regulations which were sent to us by Brussels and there was nothing Parliament could do at all. Fortunately, in two years time we will once more be genuinely be in charge of all our laws.
After the historic triggering of Article 50 yesterday today sees the publication of the White Paper which is being published ahead of what is being referred to as the Great Repeal Bill. The great repeal will be of the European Communities Act 1972 which gives precedence to European Union laws and was passed by Parliament ahead of our joining what was then the European Economic Community. Apart from that the Bill will really be the Great Continuity Bill as its other purpose will be to ensure existing laws continue to have effect on the day we leave the European Union.
Yesterday the Prime Minister did a marathon stint at the despatch box answering question for over three and a quarter hours. We later dealt with the business on the Pensions Schemes bill which we had to abandon last week when the terrorist attack occurred.
For some achieving Brexit has been a life’s work for these and others for whom the battle has been just a few years today is a day they perhaps never thought would arrive. For some today is a day they will have hoped would never arrive. But is has. After over nine months since the referendum result the UK will today give notice we are going to leave the European Union. After years chairing the Better Off Out group until the referendum it goes without saying I am pleased we are finally triggering Article 50 and in two years time we will be free from the control of the European Union.
I am pleased but I am also very conscious of the huge task which lies ahead. There is much negotiation for the government to do. there are many deals to be done. I am confident our European neighbours will realise that a good deal for the UK will be a good deal for the EU. I want to see the EU succeed even without us. sometimes they might do better than us sometimes we might do better than the EU. What matters is that it is in our joint interest for both the EU and the UK to be successful. I hope our departure will finally convince the leadership of the EU of the need for real change and move towards a much looser grouping. Unfortunately the existence of the single currency makes this very difficult and I suspect that the more likely future development will be a coming together of all the Countries who use the Euro.
In the months and years ahead there will be inevitably be many twists and turns millions more words will be written about the Brexit process. Today, is a day for quiet resolve to make a success of our future as we plan to once more become an independent sovereign nation.
SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED YESTERDAY !
Today MP’s head back to Westminster after last week’s traumatic events. This Wednesday is due to bring another news event of an altogether different nature. The notice triggering Article 50 is scheduled to be given on 29th March. It will signal the start of the negotiations which will lead to a new relationship between the U.K. And the European Union. It will inevitably dominate the political debate for years and possibly decades to come. It all starts this week………..
Yesterday after questions to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions the Bus Services Bill completed its final stages in the Commons. I chaired a delegated Legislation Committee which considered a new Statutory Instrument which will set targets for certain public sector bodies as to how many apprentices they should employ.
Today questions are to Boris Johnson the Foreign Secretary and then it is anticipated there will be a statement on the ongoing deadlock in the political situation in Northern Ireland. The House of Commons will then consider the amendments made by the House of Lords to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill followed by a debate on the situation in Yemen which was allocated by the Backbench Business Committee. Talking of which I will be attending a meeting of that this afternoon.
The United Kingdom Independence Party have had a difficult time of late. At the last general election they lost 50% of their Members of Parliament and failed to make a single gain anywhere – despite all the forecasts and speculation. The delivery of the Conservatives manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on our membership of the European Union and respect the result has somewhat dinted their ‘Unique Selling Point’. With the departure of the UK from the EU it is difficult for them to identify their USP now.
Then there is the problem of the leadership. Regardless of ones view of Nigel Farage few would doubt that he is a charismatic character and was the one person who the general public could be able to name as a UKIP politician. Since his most recent departure the leadership has been a problem. The election of Diane Evans lasted longer than her leadership. Her replacement Paul Nuttall (no relation) failed despite being leader in his bid to gain a seat in Parliament. One of their chief funders Aaron Banks has quit to form a new political party of his own and now a new loss. Their sole MP Douglas Carswell the MP for Clacton has resigned and has said he will sit as an independent. It is difficult to see how they are going to break out of this downward spiral.
Today marks the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome the founding document which brought what is now the European Union into being. In 1957 only 6 countries were party to the agreement. There are now 28 members including the UK. Soon of course to fall to 27 and understandably I believe the leaders of the EU were anxious not to receive our notice to quit on the day their celebrate their 60th anniversary. Keen no doubt to maintain friendly relations with our European neighbours we were happy to agree and we know the Article 50 notice will now be served next Wednesday.
I can appreciate the EU leaders being upset at the departure of the UK not least because we pay a sizeable chunk of the bills every year. If they are sensible they will ask themselves why it is we are leaving and why it is there are so many around the EU who are concerned about the direction of the EU. It seems to me the fundamental problem they need to address are the inherent strains within the Eurozone. The single currency with a single interest rate is too low for Germany and too high for countries like Greece. I am not sure the richer countries are prepared to transfer the funds that would be necessary to help the poorer ones. In essence that is what is required for a single currency to work in the long term. The EU keep putting a sticking plaster over the problems of the Eurozone but unless a long term solution is reached I suspect other countries will in due course follow our route.