PRO-EU peers have branded Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation “fundamentally flawed” and insist it needs rewritten as they bid to put the brakes on Britain quitting the EU.
The influential Lords Constitution Committee claims the EU Withdrawal Bill is “constitutionally unacceptable” and risks “undermining legal certainty”.
It came as a separate panel of peers said the Government’s plans to leave the single market could spark a rise in energy bills for households across the country.
The Government’s the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – previously dubbed the Great Repeal Bill – to transfer rules and regulations from Brussels into domestic law in time for Brexit.
But the committee said the task was complicated by its “scale and complexity”.
And it was made more difficult because “in many areas the final shape of that law will depend on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU”.
They said: “We conclude that the Bill risks fundamentally undermining legal certainty in a number of ways.”
Peers said the method proposed to create a new category of “retained EU law” will cause “problematic uncertainties and ambiguities”.
They also warned of “significant constitutional repercussions” in failing to secure agreement from Holyrood and Cardiff about the devolution of powers returned from Brussels.
The report said the bill was “therefore fundamentally flawed from a constitutional perspective in multiple ways.
Committee chairwoman Baroness Taylor of Bolton said: “We acknowledge the scale, challenge and unprecedented nature of the task of converting existing EU law into UK law, but as it stands this Bill is constitutionally unacceptable.”
In a separate report, the Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-committee examined the impact of the Government’s plans on the energy market and warned bills could rise and major projects could be disrupted.
But the peers said the UK was on course to be outside the EU’s internal energy market as a result of the Government’s plans to leave the single market and jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
The peers said: “It is likely that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will lead to less efficient energy trade, which could in turn increase the price paid by consumers for energy security.”
The committee also highlighted a warning from energy giant EDF that “without access to EU labour it will be difficult to complete construction of the new nuclear power facility at Hinkley Point” in Somerset.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:
“Energy security remains a priority, not just for the UK but for the whole of Europe, and we will work both domestically and with our trading partners to ensure that we have the energy we need.”
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