Government ditches pledge to scrap all EU rules by the end of the year as Brexiteers accuse Business Secretary “hoisting the white flag of surrender”, by Alistair Thompson

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has confirmed the government is watering down its EU Retained Law Bill – the Bill designed to remove near 4,000 EU laws by the end of the year.


Following media speculation, Ms Badenoch issued a Ministerial Statement this week which said: “This Government is committed to seizing the opportunities following our exit, which is why we are now removing EU laws from the UK statute book.


The Government introduced the Bill so that we could end the special status of retained EU law. It ensures that, for the first time in a generation, the UK’s statute book will not recognise the supremacy of EU law or EU legal principles. As the Bill is currently drafted, almost all REUL is automatically revoked at the end of 2023, unless a statutory instrument is passed to preserve it


Today the Government is tabling an amendment for Lords Report, which will replace the current sunset in the Bill with a list of the retained EU laws that we intend to revoke under the Bill at the end of 2023. This provides certainty for business by making it clear which regulations will be removed from our statue book, instead of highlighting only the REUL that would be saved. We will retain the vitally important powers in the Bill that allow us to continue to amend EU laws, so more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after proper assessment and consultation. Today we also update the REUL dashboard, available on


We will still fully take back control of our laws and end the supremacy and special status of retained EU law by the end of 2023. We will also make our laws fit for UK purposes: reducing the regulatory burden and controlling the flow of new regulation. We will no longer tie business up in red tape…”.


She continued: “I am pleased to say that the Government has already revoked or reformed over 1,000 EU laws since our exit. In addition to the list of around 600 we propose to revoke directly through the REUL Bill, the Financial Services and Markets Bill and the Procurement Bill will revoke around a further 500 pieces of REUL. We are committed to lightening the regulatory burden on businesses and helping to spur economic growth, and our Edinburgh Reforms of UK financial services include over 30 regulatory reforms to unlock investment and boost growth in towns and cities across the UK.


The decision to quietly slip out a written statement, drew sharp criticism from MPs and even the Speaker of the House of Commons, as the announcement should have been made in person in the chamber.


The Business Secretary was then forced to attend Parliament and answer an Urgent Question on the Ministerial Statement, where she received a rare rebuke from the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle after giving a “flippant” response.


“Who do you think you are speaking to?” the speaker said.

He continued: “It is highly regrettable that the government decided not to offer an oral statement on this matter yesterday given the importance of this announcement.


“On such matters full engagement with parliament and its committees is essential.


“I would remind the government that we are elected to hear it first: not to read it in the Telegraph, and certainly not a WMS is satisfactory on such an important matter.”


Ms Badenoch’s decision to water down the Bill along with her performance also drew criticism from Conservative backbenches and from Labour.


One MP told that the Business Secretary “had lost the battle against the remoaner blob” and had “hoisted the white flag of surrender”. Another said the Express “had called it right when they described her actions as a capitulation”. While a third said, Ms Badenoch’s chances of becoming the next leader of the Conservative Party, “had taken a hammering”.


While Labour’s Jenny Chapman, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, described the decision as a “humiliating U-turn”.


“This is a humiliating u-turn from a weak and divided government with no clue how to grow our economy, protect workers, support business or build a better Britain outside the EU,” she said.


“After wasting months of parliamentary time, the Tories have conceded that this universally unpopular bill will damage the economy, at a time when businesses and families are already struggling with the Tory cost of living crisis. They are now trying to adopt some of Labour’s amendments to try and rescue this sinking ship of a bill.


“We will continue to fight to ensure this legislation does not water down hard won workers’ rights, undermine business confidence, or give ministers unaccountable powers they cannot be trusted with. Only Labour has a vision and a plan to grow Britain’s economy.”




Alistair Thompson

Alistair Thompson is the Director of Team Britannia PR and a journalist.