Professor Alex de Ruyter, political economist and Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University has said that a move by UK Gov to revise or erase EU legislation is represents an erosion of individual freedoms fundamental to democracy. The academic’s comments follow the passing of the controversial ‘post-Brexit bonfire plan’ bill in the House of Commons last night.
The professor said: “Brexit was always sold by its zealous advocates as the ‘freedom’ to ‘take back control’. But in reality this means removing any vestiges of EU law that might impinge on the ability of certain individuals or businesses to undercut minimum standards.
“The idea that thousands of pieces of legislation affected or underpinned by EU law could be revised or erased in a matter of months before they are expunged is farcical and impractical. Rather, it reveals the potential that any expunged laws could be replaced by something cobbled together on ministerial discretion, with minimal parliamentary oversight.
“That laws affected by this include areas such as employment rights, environmental and consumer protection, clearly pose clear cause for concern; as the recent spectacle of water companies being able to discharge sewage into our rivers and onto our beaches by an Act of Parliament demonstrates.
“In its rush to enact the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill, Sunak is continuing to kowtow to the fanatical right wing of his party, given his own insecure position. Although the Bill has passed the Commons it will most likely face defeat in the House of Lords, but this would only delay its enaction rather than scupper it entirely.
“Meanwhile individual freedoms – fundamental to democracy – are being eroded by the Sunak government, with the anticipated Public Order bill seeking essentially to outlaw all forms of protest, to the extent that even writing articles about the right to protest could be deemed unlawful.
“Freedom post-Brexit then, is freedom for the powerful and the rich, whilst ordinary people in the UK face increasing restraints on fundamental individual rights and hardship in the everyday cost of living. The REUL bill will only increase the ability of the rich and powerful to evade democratic scrutiny.”