The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Farron: We’ll block crucial Repeal Bill
REMAIN backers believe they will be able to defeat the flagship Brexit Bill because the Government is now so weak.
Dubbed the Great Repeal Bill, the legislation will transfer decades of European Union rulings and judgments on to the UK statute book so that they can be changed or axed at a later date.
Theresa May has described it as an ‘essential step’ on Britain’s journey out of the EU.
The difficulty of navigating the Great Repeal Bill through Parliament was part of the reason why Mrs May called the snap Election, as she hoped to return with a larger majority and so avoid critical votes being lost.
But now that the Conservatives have lost their majority in the Commons and are relying on the Democratic Unionist Party to keep the Government going, anti-Brexit campaigners are increasingly confident they can stop the law going through.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘The Great Repeal Bill is facing a long, hard battle and I plan to fight the Tories every step of the way.
‘Our rights and protections must not be eroded. I do not trust Theresa May on this and will work with anyone on a crossparty basis to stop her. The Government know they don’t have the votes to get this through. My message to them is stark: you need to go back to the drawing board or face defeat.’
Lord Wood, an adviser to Ed Miliband when he was Labour leader, wrote online: ‘There is simply no way the staggering scope, complexity and sensitivities of the Great Repeal Bill can be navigated given the Election result.’ But leading Brexiteers are adamant that any attempt to sabotage the Bill would fail.
Veteran Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash said: ‘Any attempt to frustrate or obstruct the Repeal Bill would be contrary to the will of the people at the referendum, and what people voted for in the General Election. They can try to put down amendments but it doesn’t look to me like they could get the votes to do it.’
At the same time as it tries to get the Great Repeal Bill through Parliament, the Government must also get on with Brexit negotiations in Europe.
The talks are due to begin in just over a week, with EU leaders urging Britain to keep to the timetable despite the Election turmoil.
Yesterday Martin Selmayr, the powerful aide to European Commission President Jean ClaudeJuncker, appeared dismissive of Mrs May’s attempt to remain Prime Minister, describing the resignations of her key aides Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill as a desperate tactic to keep herself in power.