Government announces end of European Communities Act

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 02.10.16
Publication Date 02/10/2016
Content Type

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis announced on the 2 October 2016 that the United Kingdom Government planned to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act (ECA). The Act gives direct effect to all EU law and the introduction of a new Bill to repeal it will mean the Act ceases to apply from the day of exit.

At the same time the new Bill will convert existing EU law into domestic law, while allowing Parliament to amend, repeal or improve any law after appropriate scrutiny and debate.

The repeal Bill will end European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the UK.

Mr Davis also dismissed any suggestion that the Government intended to use Brexit to roll back workers’ rights - pointing out that in many areas, including annual and parental leave, UK law goes further than minimum standards offered under EU law.

Also on the 2 October 2016 the UK Prime Minister Theresa May made clear in tv interviews and her first speech as leader of the Conservative Party at their 2016 annual conference in Birmingham, that she intended to trigger Article 50, the formal process for starting a two-year negotiation over exit from the EU, by March 2017.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson used his conference speech on the same day to outline how the UK would be 'liberated' by leaving the European Union. Brexit Secretary David Davis hailed Brexit as a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Britain to forge its new place in the world'.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, tweeted on the 2 October 2016: 'PM May's declaration brings welcome clarity on start of Brexit talks. Once Article 50's triggered, EU27 will engage to safeguard its interests'.

At the Midday Press Briefing on the 3 October 2016 the European Commission stressed that 'When it comes to Article 50 we will work constructively on the basis of notification, not on a speech. Until this letter of notification arrives, there will be no negotiation'.

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