Tarun Khaitan: A Constitution Protection Clause for the Great Repeal Bill?

UK Constitutional Law Association

Scope: Extensive provisions for Henry VIII powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017 (hereinafter, the “Repeal Bill”) have become predictably controversial. These powers are mainly found in clauses 7 (‘dealing with deficiencies arising from withdrawal’), 8 (‘complying with international obligations’) and 9 (‘implementing the withdrawal agreement’). The scope of the power in clause 7 is the broadest, allowing Ministers to enact any provision that Parliament could make to remedy ‘any failure … to operate effectively’ or ‘any other deficiency’, remove ‘redundant or substantially redundant’ laws, remove provisions no longer ‘appropriate to retain’. The use of such vague and broad terms fail to reassure that ‘technical’ amendments alone will fall within the scope of these powers. The likelihood that these powers will be used by a minority Government to sneak in policy changes is high, especially at a time when Parliament will have an extremely heavy workload.

Limitations:…

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