Theresa May has confirmed the Brexit process will begin by repealing the 1972 European Communities Act and triggering Article 50 by the end of March 2017.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, she did not give an exact date but said a timetable had been set for “the first quarter of 2017”.
May will be making a speech later today on Brexit to the Conservative conference in Birmingham.
She is set to announce a new “Great Repeal Bill” which will be introduced in Parliament as early as next year to replace the 1972 European Communities Act.
The 1972 European Communities Act legislated for the accession of the United Kingdom to, what was then, the European Economic Community and also legislated for the incorporation of European Union law (then Community law) into the domestic law of the UK.
But whilst the Act is set to be repealed the government has said it will enshrine all existing EU law into British law. These laws include those pertaining to workers rights such as parental leave and automatic holiday.
In an interview with The Sunday Times May said: “We will introduce, in the next Queen’s Speech, a Great Repeal Bill that will remove the European Communities Act from the statute book. That was the act that took us into the European Union.
“This marks the first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again. It will return power and authority to the elected institutions of our county. It means that the authority of EU law in Britain will end.”
What is Article 50?
The Treaty of Lisbon, signed in December 2007, is the European Union’s most recent constitution and Article 50 makes provision for countries that want to leave.
- Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally along with outlining the procedure for doing so
- Before the treaty was signed there was no legal way to leave the EU
- It sets a two year time limit on negotiations regarding an exit deal
- Once the process is started it cannot be stopped except by unanimous consent of all 28 EU members
- Any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of member states and can be vetoed by the European Parliament
Topics on the table could include the UK’s access to the single market, travel arrangements and what will happen to people from EU countries who are working or living in Britain.
Until completed the UK is still bound by the obligations and responsibilities of EU membership. This includes fiscal regulation such as the Mortgage Market Review and the Mortgage Credit Directive.
To date the Financial Conduct Authority has said that all current regulation, from the EU or otherwise, will remain on the book unless the government decides otherwise.
There have been calls from some quarters to scrap the EU enforced rules however for now they look doomed to remain unheard.
Speaking in the wake of the referendum the regulator said: “Firms must continue to abide by their obligations under UK law, including those derived from EU law and continue with implementation plans for legislation that is still to come into effect.
“Consumers’ rights and protections, including any derived from EU legislation, are unaffected by the result of the referendum and will remain unchanged unless and until the government changes the applicable legislation.
“The longer term impacts of the decision to leave the EU on the overall regulatory framework for the UK will depend, in part, on the relationship that the UK seeks with the EU in the future.”