Sparking a furious backlash from Scotland and Wales and fueling political opposition that could derail her plans for Brexit, Theresa May unveiled a landmark draft law to take Britain out of the European Union.
When the U.K. leaves the bloc in March 2019, the 66-page bill will transfer EU laws onto the British statute book. But threatening to block the bill in votes in the national legislatures in Edinburgh and Cardiff Alleging failure and alleging failure to give them sufficient powers, the leaders of the semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh governments attacked May’s plan.
It “is a naked power-grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution and could destabilize our economies,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart, Carwyn Jones, said in a statement.
Jones and Sturgeon said that instead of devolving decision-making to Wales and Scotland, the bill takes powers back from the EU in Brussels and gives them to the central U.K. government in London. “On that basis, the Scottish and Welsh governments cannot recommend that legislative consent is given to the bill as it currently stands.”
As she battles to keep her Brexit strategy on track, May is having to brace herself for political trench warfare on several fronts one year after becoming prime minister.
Her critics in London are plotting to water down her plans for a clean break with Europe, quitting the single market and the customs union and are emboldened by her failure to win a majority in last month’s election. And as talks unfold, a firm line is being taken by the EU’s negotiators.
There is little time for Britain. In order that the future trading relationship is settled by the deadline to conclude the negotiations on March 29, 2019, May wants to open talks on a new free-trade deal between the U.K. and the EU.
In order to rewrite the repeal bill, rebel Tories are being united by the Bottom of Form
main opposition Labour Party and is already plotting towards it. It would take only seven lawmakers from May’s party to rebel in order to potentially defeat the government in a vote in the House of Commons even though she has the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists. And May being pushed from power and a softer form of Brexit could be the end result.
Through a fast-track process designed to ensure regulations work properly after Brexit, the bill would hand May’s government two years.
Rather than incorporate it into domestic law, a plan to abandon the EU charter of fundamental rights is among its more contentious features. This creates a immediate collision path for the government and the main opposition parties.
The incorporation of the charter one of the “six tests” he will apply when the party votes. Has been made by Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer. A separate vote in the Scottish Parliament, where Sturgeon’s anti-Brexit Scottish National Party is the largest force, is allowed by the bill in another significant turn.
“Those who try to derail this bill are increasing the risk of what they would call ‘hard Brexit,”’ Trade Secretary Liam Fox said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We are going to leave the European Union and if we are unable to put the laws in place that provide that stability, we will still leave, we simply will not have the legal framework that we want.”
(Adapted from Bloomberg)