Ask the people! Lord Frost on the spot as Brexiteer Claire Fox demands UK vote on EU laws

Claire Fox grills Lord Frost on EU law review

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Addressing the House of Lords, Baroness Fox said given the sentiment of the Brexit vote and the move to regain sovereignty and “democratic accountability”, a vote on the implementation of EU law in the UK should be given to the public and not get stuck in committee rooms. Her demands come as a major review announced by the UK Government has the potential for significant impact on all areas of UK legislation that has its roots in EU law.

Baroness Fox said: “One of the key tenets of Brexit was the removal of substantive, undemocratic layers above sovereign lawmaking to enhance democratic accountability.

“But does the minister [Lord Frost] recognise this control over laws is not yet a real, live, felt experience for voters.”

But in a striking moment, the Brexiteer demanded Britons get a vote on EU laws if they are to live under them in the UK.

She said: “Does the minister appreciate that the retained EU Law Review is an opportunity for a democratic engagement with voters, not stakeholders…

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“About what they believe should be prioritised in terms of legislation and not left to committees.”

Lord Frost replied saying Baroness Fox made an “extremely good point” of the idea of sending the vote to the people.

He added how it is the wish of Brexit negotiators to “widen out this debate as far as we can”.

But he suggested a vote on EU laws for the British people would be out of the question.

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Lord Frost said how one of the ways of getting around the issue Baroness Fox raised would be a “standing commission on deregulation.”

The chief Brexit negotiator added he hoped to update the House “shortly” on what such a commission would look like.

Speaking to the Lord’s back in September, Lord Frost said there were two aims of the law review.

The first was “remove the special status of retained EU law” while the second was to “review comprehensively the substantive content of retained EU law”.


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He stressed how the Government plan is “eventually to amend, to replace, or to repeal all that retained EU law that is not right for the UK”.

In an article on his company’s website, David Thorneloe, legal director of law firm Pinsent Masons, suggested that one major aim of the Government is to cut out the “supremacy and direct effect of some EU legislation in the UK under the Withdrawal Act.”

He wrote how this ‘continues to override pre-Brexit domestic legislation if a conflict between the two comes to light.’

Mr Thorneloe added: ‘Beyond this, changes to the status of retained EU law in UK legislation are more likely to be presentational than substantive.’

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