Four years after Brexit, why are we still governed by the laws of a foreign power?

Why hasn’t the government ditched all EU laws, as they promised?

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2024

A Facts4EU report on our snail-like progress in becoming a sovereign country

On 29 June 2023 the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2023 (the ‘REUL Act’) received Royal Assent. This Act paved the way for significant regulatory reforms, enabling the removal of retained EU law (‘REUL’) from the UK statute book.

Sadly, this simply has not happened. Progress in this area can at best be characterised as going at a snail’s pace.

Yesterday we revealed just how many new EU legal instruments Brexit Britain has dodged in the four years since we left the EU. In today’s report we present the limited actions that have been taken on the EU regulations in place prior to that and question what Mr Sunak’s Government and the Whitehall Civil Service are doing. It is now four years after we exited the EU and nearly eight years after the British people voted to leave.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Repealing retained EU laws (REUL) – the official numbers so far

  • Unchanged : 4,524
  • Repealed : 1,369
  • Amended : 759
  • Expired : 62
  • Replaced : 39
  • ‘TBC’ : 4
  • TOTAL : 6,757

[Source : Dept for Business and Trade, ‘Retained EU Law Parliamentary Report’, 24 Jan 2024.]


© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2024 - click to enlarge

The official statistics from the UK Government on EU laws are ludicrous

When the Government first produced the numbers of EU laws affecting the UK we ridiculed them. When they upped the numbers considerably we ridiculed them again. Now we must do so for a third time.

To date, government departments have only identified 6,757 EU laws. This is a woeful performance. The true number is a significant multiple of this figure. Perhaps the reason they have not identified more is because it allows them to quote a “Percentage repealed/amended/replaced” which is far higher than the reality and which therefore flatters to deceive.

It is important for readers to understand that even the understated number of EU laws is only the tip of the iceberg. On top of this are ‘Regulations’, ‘Directives’, and a variety of other rules, judgements, case law, and other issues to deal with.

Comments from former Secretary of State the Rt Hon Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

"The benefits of Brexit will accelerate as we throw EU rules overboard.

"We are still weighed down by too much EU baggage as this excellent report shows."

- The Rt Hon Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, commenting to Facts4EU.Org and CIBUK.Org, 06 Feb 2024

What is REUL and why is it so important?

Originally the Government promised automatically to repeal all EU laws that had not been amended, by the end of last year (2023). That never happened.

By law the Government now has to produce a six-monthly report on ‘Retained EU Laws’ – what is referred to as ‘REUL’. We have reported on REUL several times, because for a country to be independent and sovereign it must operate under its own laws, not those of a foreign power.

Unfortunately the Dept for Business and Trade’s statutory REUL report last week shows how progress so far has been lamentable and how there are no signs that this is going to change. We should add that the Dept for Business and Trade acts as the collections body for information coming from all government departments about EU laws affecting their own areas of operations. The problem therefore affects government as a whole.

Statement from the Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, the Secretary of State for Business and Trade

“The Brexit vote was the beginning of a new chapter for the UK, enabling us to seize our own future and prioritise the best interests of the British people. The enactment of the REUL Act was a platform for execution of that ambition.

“It created powers to streamline the process of amending the EU laws that we had retained after our 40-year membership and ensures that, for the first time in a generation, the supremacy of EU law and EU general principles have been removed from our statute book.

“Taking back control of our laws is about ensuring the law serves the national interest by reducing the regulatory burden and controlling the flow of new regulation. I understand that when governments tie business up in red tape it holds them back, reducing their global competitiveness and impeding growth.

“The REUL Act speeds up the process of removing years of burdensome EU regulation in favour of a more agile regulatory approach that benefits the UK. New regulatory approaches will be designed to give businesses more opportunity to innovate, experiment, and capitalise on the UK’s global leadership in areas such as technology, life sciences, and digital services.”

- The Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, 24 Jan 2024

A Facts4EU.Org advisory to Mrs Badenoch

Unfortunately the Secretary of State does not seem to know that the UK’s membership of the EEC/EU did not endure for 40 years as she stated, but for 47 years - from 1973.

Perhaps this is because Mrs Badenoch wasn’t born until 1980.


The British people are generally a tolerant lot, but there are limits

The performance of the Government and the Whitehall Civil Service in regard to repealing the EU’s foreign laws governing the British people is frankly a disgrace.

We were promised that all EU laws which had not been amended would be repealed by default at the end of last year. Now it seems there is a vague target to do something by the end of 2026. This will be 10 years after the people voted to leave the EU.

We consider this to be wholly unacceptable.

As with the repeated broken promises to control immigration, it seems that our Government and the Whitehall Civil Service simply will not effect the will of the people. The performance is so woeful we can only consider this to be a deliberate act by Whitehall to keep the United Kingdom as closely aligned to EU law as possible, in order to make a re-entry much easier.

We feel it important to warn the Westminster bubble and Whitehall that they are on the brink of playing with fire. This is regardless of which party is in power. We can only hope that they will all wake up and smell the kindling.

We must get reports like this out there

Reports like the one above take far longer to research, write and produce than many people realise. If they were easy, readers would see other organisations also producing these daily. However, there’s little point in the Facts4EU.Org team working long hours, seven days-a-week, if we lack the resources to promote them effectively – to the public, to MPs, and to the media. This is where you come in, dear reader.

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[ Sources: Dept for Business and Trade | House of Commons Library ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 06 Feb 2024

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