Badenoch defends pace and process of bill on 'bonfire' of EU regulations

Wed 7 Jun 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK and EU flags superimposed on view of UK Parliament

The secretary of state for business and trade, Kemi Badenoch, has rejected the characterisation of the UK’s efforts to scrap EU laws post-Brexit as a “bonfire” of EU laws and said a process was in place to “get rid of laws we don’t want”.

Badenoch has been criticised by Conservative MPs for slowing down efforts to scrap the laws which were due to be ditched under the Retained EU Law Bill. 

This would have automatically deleted EU laws by the end of this year if they had not been reviewed by officials and ministers, reports Politico.

It would have required the review of around 4,000 laws by 31 December 2023, but Badenoch scaled back the bill in the face of potential regulatory uncertainty.

As reported previously by the IOE&IT Daily Update, industry groups, trade unions and campaign organisations sharply criticised the original proposals, warning of potential damage caused by removing regulations without considering what comes next.

Fewer laws ditched

Around 600 pieces of EU law will now be reviewed by the government this year, reports the Independent, leaving thousands remaining on the statute book.

Speaking at a session of the House of Commons European scrutiny committee in Parliament yesterday (6 June), Badenoch responded to concerns that the “bonfire” of EU regulation would not take place.

David Jones, a conservative MP, had said the Commons had voted for the measure, and that modifying the bill in the Lords could be seen as “disrespectful” to MPs.

“It is not the bonfire of regulations — we are not arsonists,” Badenoch replied.

Retained law Tsar

“My view is that what we want to do is get rid of laws we don’t want and there's a process for that,” she added. 

Sky News reports that Badenoch told the chair of the committee, Sir Bill Cash, that she would consider appointing a Retained EU Law “Tsar” to focused on the details of this matter.

“We can certainly have an individual who can do that,” she said.

Ukraine

Badenoch is today due at a meeting with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London later this month (June 21 and 22).

Led by the foreign secretary, James Cleverly, a delegation of UK ministers will meet with counterparts from other OECD countries to discuss ongoing support for Ukraine’s war effort as well as post-invasion rebuilding efforts.