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UK government set out sovereignty plan in Great Repeal Bill

UK government set out sovereignty plan in Great Repeal Bill

Having formally triggered Brexit, ministers are promising a "smooth and stable transition" with legislation ending the supremacy of EU judges.

It will also incorporate thousands of pieces of EU law into UK legislation. The publication comes the day after the UK started two years of talks using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Prime Minister Theresa May described the invoking of Article 50 as a "historic moment from which there can be no turning back", saying Britain would now make its own decisions and its own laws. She called for a "deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security co-operation", and also warned the failure to reach a deal could weaken the joint fight against crime and terrorism.

In response, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, said he would not accept any attempt to "bargain" between trade and security.Asked if the PM's comments amounted to "blackmail", he replied: "I try to be a gentleman, so towards a lady I don't even use or think about the word 'blackmail'."Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green told BBC Newsnight that Mrs May's statement was "not a threat", but a "sensible point to make" as new deals would be needed in a number of areas, including trade and security.

Key to the pledge of a post-Brexit Britain in charge of its laws is the Great Repeal Bill, which ministers say is essential to avoid a "black hole" in the law when the UK leaves the EU.The UK Parliament can then "amend, repeal and improve" the laws as necessary, the government says.However, it could prove controversial with plans to give ministers the power to make changes to some laws without full Parliamentary scrutiny.The government says this will only be for "mechanical changes" to ensure laws function properly.

'A unique challenge'

The Great Repeal Bill, which Theresa May has said will make the UK an "independent, sovereign nation", would: Repeal the European Communities Act, which says EU law is supreme to the UK'sEnsure the UK leaves the jurisdiction of the European Court of JusticeTranspose existing EU legislation into domestic UK law. It would come into force the day the UK leaves the EUThe Commons library anticipates it will be "one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken in the UK"A Lords committee described it as a "unique challenge", with EU law having accumulated over decades.