Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023


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Badenoch on collision course with Tory MPs over ‘capitulation’ to the Lords

3 min read

Jacob Rees-Mogg defends Retained EU Law Bill

Tory Brexiteer MPs have claimed they have been betrayed after Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch laid down amendments to the Brexit bill meant to rip up EU laws which means it has been watered down. Instead of a bonfire of 3,000 to 4,000 EU laws it appears that just 550 will be lost.

In a press release, Ms Badenoch hailed the legislations saying that the UK is “taking back control of its laws”.

However, Tory Brexiteers have already told Express.co.uk that the changes reverse the bill agreed without amendment in the Commons which now makes keeping EU laws and red tape the default position.

MPs had voted for a Bill which would have meant ditching EU laws was the default position.

A delegation of members of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteers is understood to have visited Downing Street this morning to warn the Prime Minister against the move.

But with unelected Remainer peers threatening to block the Bill, Ms Badenoch has been accused of “capitulating” and laying down amendments to avoid a fight in the Upper House.

The Department for Business and Trade insisted in its press release that the Bill would still reduce the burden of red tape on business.

It said that it would reduce “time-consuming and disproportionate reporting requirements” for specific elements of the Working Time Regulations, while retaining the 48-hour week requirement and upholding our world leading employment standards.

This could save employers around £1 billion a year. We are also simplifying regulations that apply when a business transfers to a new owner.

The Bill will also make regulation the “last resort not first resort” for ministers.

Ms Badenoch said: “I have listened to the concerns of business of all sizes and have made it a priority to tackle the red tape that holds back UK firms, reduces their competitiveness in global markets and hampers their growth.

“We are taking back control of our laws after Brexit, reducing and improving regulation and giving businesses the freedom to do what they do best – sell innovative products, create jobs and grow the economy.”

She was endorsed by Tina McKenzie, policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

She said: “For years and under all Governments, well-meaning Ministers have reached to create new regulations in response to issues. This is then repeated under the next set of Ministers – leaving us with a high cumulative burden for business to deal with.

“We are pleased to see a change of approach here, moving away from regulation as a first resort, alongside a reduction in administrative requirements that divert time away from running a business, and more of a focus for regulators on stimulating economic growth.”

However, the amendments laid in the Lords have made the Bill very different to the one initially proposed by former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg when he was Brexit Opportunities Minister.

One senior member of the ERG told Express.co.uk: “This has turned the legislation on its head. We now have far fewer EU laws being removed, instead the assumption is they are all assimilated unless a minister decides to remove them.

“Previously, they were to be scrapped unless a minister decided to keep them. That is what we agreed without amendment in the Commons and it is wrong that the government should capitulate to the Lords in this way.

“It will cause a lot of bad feeling and is completely unnecessary. It is also wrong that MPs have not been able to scrutinise these changes.

“Kemi Badenoch seems to have got worried about having a fight with peers but she had all the authority behind her because the Commons had supported the Bill.

“Many colleagues believe this is a betrayal of Brexit.”

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