The ‘power grab’ was 45 years ago

Speaker's Corner columnists -  Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
Speaker's Corner columnists - Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
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Is it acceptable for politicians to practise deception or spin to such an extent that it disguises reality? I hope you will see where I am coming from when you read into the claims by those in opposition to the Great Repeal Bill, writes Steve Lane, Werrington First Independent Councillor.

The UK is leaving the European Union, that’s a fact. The majority of the public now accepts this, including a large number of Remain-voters, and yet there are still loud protests from MPs who refuse to support life without the EU. Many of those, along with a large number in the unelected House of Lords, have stated a determination to frustrate the progress of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, a.k.a. the Great Repeal Bill.

Amongst them is a number of the 87 first time MPs who possibly need help with their decision-making when voting on the Bill. I would happily be forgiving of those who do not fully understand our parliamentary legislature, but surely the more learned of our long- serving MPs have a better understanding than newbies?

These doom-mongers claim the Bill, once enacted, will give ministers the power to make changes to laws without sufficient scrutiny. Blind to the Bill’s purpose they call it a ‘power- grab’ of delegated powers that would deny MPs the ability to hold anyone to account. There will be “less democracy than before” is the deceptive claim.

Let’s be clear, the Bill has two main purposes, and the first is to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 that made the UK subject to the sovereignty of the EU’s legal might.

Secondly, it will transpose all existing EU legislation into UK law - absolutely essential to avoid any legal vacuum after departure.

There are some learned MPs, whom we expect to know the facts, that are being hypocritical when claiming the Bill’s powers are something new and extraordinary. Actually, they are no more and no less than what has gone before – at least in modern times. The powers being conferred in this Bill are nothing new, at all, but simply a reversal of all that was conferred to the EU many years ago.

In 1972, Section 2(1) of the ECA made provision for the EU to have a direct effect on the UK legislative process. At the same time, Section 2(2) made provision for the implementation of EU laws by secondary legislation. It thereby gave EU law a supremacy over the UK’s, and without much scrutiny by our elected MPs.

Therefore, the ‘power-grab’ was first initiated over 45 years ago, and successive governments have been happy to comply ever since.

The Great Repeal Bill will reverse all of this, and Government assures us that any delegated power will be used solely to implement technical changes to avoid gaps that could exist if left unattended.

So, we should decide for ourselves whether those who understand the issues, and yet still urge for public disaffection, are being economical with the truth or wilfully misleading. I don’t know what others might feel, but I know what I think of someone who portrays something as factual when they know it to be otherwise.