A number of organisations have encouraged their supporters to email me about the potential impact of the EU Repeal bill on their areas of concern (amongst the most vocal have been environmental lobbyists).
As I pointed out in this column last week, the purpose of the Bill is to provide certainty and continuity so that our legal and regulatory framework will be exactly the same the day after we leave as it will be on the day before we leave.
By ensuring that all EU law and regulation is incorporated into UK law and regulation, all those lobbyists should be reassured that nothing will have changed (including all our environmental protections).
This unchanged status does beg the obvious question ‘why have we gone through the whole process of leaving the EU if we are keeping everything the same, including all those burdensome regulations from Brussels?’
To which the simple answers are twofold: First to provide necessary certainty and continuity in the short to medium term; and second, because we simply do not have the time available to do any kind of sifting exercise, in order to determine what regulations we wish to amend, revise, or dispense with.
Having campaigned to leave the EU however, I am ambitious to change the regulatory and legal framework at our leisure over the years ahead. There seems to me something wanting in the outlook of my correspondents, who appear to take the view that we are incapable of making our own arrangements – to protect our environment, or whatever else – and that we need to rely on the EU to do it for us. This is a poverty of ambition that I do not share. I have every expectation that our regulation can be superior to anything that the EU has come up with (and that we can protect our environment rather better – the record of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has much to answer for in terms of environmental degradation).
The whole point of ‘taking back control’ by leaving the EU is so that we can develop policy more suited to our own needs and that our own standards can be higher.
The mark on manufactures ‘CE’ (“Conformité Européene”) means only that a product meets the essential regulatory requirements, it is not a badge of quality as is the ‘British Standard’. We need to ensure that we reinvigorate British Standards so that once again they become the premier mark of excellence throughout the world.