Brexit plot for EU laws bonfire torn apart with warning UK goods ‘unsellable in Europe’

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The Government has been developing plans to set an expiry date for remaining EU laws as Brexit opportunities Minister Jacob Rees Mogg is said to have told cabinet that he plans to introduce a five-year expiry date for about 1,500 pieces of EU regulatory legislation. However, lawyers and business groups have warned that any “blanket” changes risk creating more complexity and uncertainty for businesses.

Lawyer Eleonor Duhs, who worked on the 2018 EU withdrawal act, told the Independent that a “self-imposed cliff-edge for retained EU law is a recipe for potential chaos.”

She said: “This proposal has the potential to drive investment away from the UK at a time when we really need it.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned about “deregulation for its own sake”.

William Bain, the BCC’s head of trade policy, told the Independent that complicating the UK/EU trading relationship could mean British goods were “unsellable”.

He said: “We should not complicate our trading relationship by diverging so far it makes UK goods and services unsellable into Europe.”

The Government wants to use the forthcoming “Brexit freedoms” bill to get rid of EU rules.

According to the Times this will be done by bringing in a “sunset clause”.

This will force ministers to stick to the remaining laws, amend them or get rid of them completely by the end of the five year period. 

Mr Rees-Mogg is said to have told the cabinet earlier this month about the plan to force an expiry date on 1,500 pieces of EU legislation.

This is to “force radical thinking” from Government departments.

Jonathan Jones QC, who was the Government’s former legal chief who resigned in protest at its Brexit policy, was highly critical of the plan.

Mr Jones told the Independent it was “potentially very dangerous” as it would be very difficult for parliament and other relevant industries to scrutinise each other. 

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He said: “Having sunset clauses in a blanket way for huge amounts of legislation is a very bad idea.

“To change swathes of the law automatically is a recipe for uncertainty for businesses and consumers and everyone else.

“If you scrap some rules on food safety automatically, for instance, then that is potentially very dangerous.

“Either there will be no rules, or do you revert to some existing laws in Britain from 1973? It’s bizarre.”

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