Jacob Rees-Mogg today warned Remainer peers against obstructing a bonfire of EU laws. The Conservative former cabinet minister’s intervention comes after the Retained EU Law Bill yesterday cleared its final Commons hurdles and will now go to the Lords for further scrutiny.
The Bill paves the way for some 4,000 EU-derived laws still on the UK statute book to be scrapped by the end of the year, unless they are specifically kept or replaced.
Mr Rees-Mogg told The Express: “As the Bill passed the Commons with a large majority I hope the Lords will recognise its strong democratic mandate.
“Although there are many Peers who have never liked the referendum result they are there to revise technical detail not to obstruct the voters.”
But the Bill is expected to run into significant opposition in the House of Lords.
Labour peer Lord Adonis, who wants to see the UK rejoin the EU, today branded the legislation as the “worst poisoned pill of Brexit“.
He said: “The House of Lords now has a vitally important job to do with the EU Retained Law Bill.
It comes after the Bill was given final approval by MPs on Wednesday by 297 to 238, majority 59.
Business minister Nusrat Ghani described the Bill as “the culmination of the Government’s work to untangle ourselves from decades of EU membership”.
Mr Rees-Mogg, who spearheaded the Bill during his time in government, said it was a “technical tidying up operation” but of “great constitutional importance”.
He insisted people who oppose it “actually in their hearts are the ones who opposed Brexit all along”.
Fellow Tory Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash said: “These thousands of laws lack inherent democratic legitimacy and must therefore be removed or replaced from our statute book.”
But Labour’s Stella Creasy, chair of the Labour Movement for Europe, claimed the Bill is “nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with an audacious ministerial power grab”.
And in stark contrast to his eurosceptic colleagues, former Brexit Secretary David Davis branded the Bill as “not democratic”.
Mr Davis, who ultimately voted in support of the Bill at third reading, said: “I voted and I campaigned to improve democracy, I wanted to take back control to give it to Westminster, not to Whitehall.”
A series of amendments to give MPs greater oversight over the axing of laws, on extending the deadline to 2026, and exempting swathes of environmental and employment legislation were defeated.