Many of the amendments to the EU Repeal Bill are simply ridiculous – though that is not surprising when one looks at their sponsors.
Liberal Democrat leader (yes, they still exist) Sir Vince Cable has backed the insertion of a clause stating that, when interpreting retained EU law after exit day, courts and tribunals “shall pay due regard to any relevant decision of the European Court.”
Firstly, this amendment is unnecessary; UK courts would naturally consult European rulings as part of the judgement process. Retained EU law originating in Brussels was intended for a certain purpose, and the UK courts will look at that original purpose. What the Repeal Bill does is liberate UK courts from having to follow EU rulings, and thus restores sovereignty to the UK. In most cases, UK courts will reach the same verdicts as EU courts; but should a miscarriage of justice take place in Europe, the UK will be free to correct that.
Secondly, the amendment is unnecessarily restrictive. The UK’s legal system is the one chosen by Russian oligarchs to settle their disputes; it is world-renowned for independence and fairness. If justice cannot be obtained in an English court, then, on this planet, justice will probably never be done. One of the very reasons for leaving the EU is to retain the high-regard in which our courts are held the world over and to prevent the political interference that comes via the European Court of Justice.
Thirdly, rejection of this amendment reduces the bureaucratic burden. Instead of having to monitor every single EU ruling for relevance, the UK can stick to EU case law before and up to the date of withdrawal from the EU.
Yet Cable’s amendment is not nearly as bad as that of Corbyn’s (also supported by such euro-obsessives as Stephen Kinnock, whose Dad was Vice-President of the EU Commission), which wants to bind Parliament’s hands.
Corbyn and Kinnock’s amendment wants to deprive MPs of the power to modify or amend retained EU laws in the areas of employment entitlements, rights and protections; equality entitlements, rights and protections; health and safety entitlements, rights and protections; and fundamental rights as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Corbyn clearly has not thought this through: should he become Prime Minister, this would bind his own hands – and thus those of the Marxists in Momentum who keep him in power – from changing these laws in a direction they envisage as more suitable. Thus the proposed amendment is exposed for what it is: a hard-Left red-herring plot to create fear and propel the myth that business and enterprise is something that hunts people instead of helping them prosper and exercise human creativity.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is the vague and badly worded charter that the UK was supposed to be protected from by Protocol 30 of the Lisbon Treaty. Despite Labour’s promises at the time, Protocol 30 does not work.
As such, the Charter has been taken by the European Court of Justice and deployed expansively to bring more and more areas of legislation over which Europe was never meant to have power into Brussels’ reach. Indeed, the Charter has even been used to override democratic Acts of Parliament, much to the disgust of lawyers.
These amendments are thus unnecessary PR stunts from parties less concerned with Britain’s future and more concerned with their own image.