What is the EU Withdrawal Bill? The key Brexit legislation explained in full
Here's everything you need to know about the flagship legislation and why it's so key to the Brexit process.
What is the EU Withdrawal Bill or the Great Repeal Bill?
The extensive bill will transfer around 12,000 pieces of existing EU regulation and translate them into UK law.
It is seen as vital in ensuring a smooth transition on the day after Brexit.
Without it there would be a lot of holes in the law – because so much legislation refers to EU bodies and other EU laws that we won't be a part of when we quit.
Ministers say we can then "amend, repeal and improve" the laws as necessary later on.
The Government has announced it will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which brought Britain into the EU in the first place.
The act meant European law took precedence over laws passed in Parliament.
Britain will now have the Great Repeal Bill, now known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which puts power for our laws back into the hands of MPs and peers.
Theresa May says the Bill means the UK "will be an independent sovereign nation" once again.
Brexit Secretary David Davis has already announced the UK will dump the hated EU human rights charter.
Who is against the Bill and why is it controversial?
Months of fraught debate took place before the vote finally passed through the Commons on June 20, 2018.
The bill was debated for the first time by the Commons on September 7, 2017 and cleared the lower chamber in January 2018.
It then moved onto the House of Lords – who made 15 amendments before sending it back to the Commons to vote through.
For key amendment 19 Theresa May was able to see off a potential defeat in the first session over a "meaningful vote" by striking a deal with Tory rebels – winning by a slim majority of 26.
The "meaningful vote" was the main point of contention of the amendments – over how much control Parliament should have over the Brexit process.
Arch-rebel Dominic Grieve wrote his own version, which would allow MPs not only to vote on a No Deal scenario but to amend the motion in order to deliver a more specific message to the Government.
But David Davis put out a statement, explaining that the decision on whether or not MPs would have the chance to amend that motion would be in the hands of Commons Speaker John Bercow.
That was enough for Mr Grieve, who promptly announced he would not support his own amendment and effectively ended the threatened rebellion.
In a sign of their desperation to win, the Government scrapped usual procedures designed to ensure MPs who are ill can still register a vote in the Commons.
The final vote against the Lords amendment was 319 to 303. Conservative rebels in favour of the amendment – voting against the Government – included Heidi Allen, Kenneth Clarke, Phillip Lee, Antoinette Sandbach, Anna Soubry and Dr Sarah Wollaston.
When does the Bill come into force?
It will become law only when we actually leave the EU in March 2019.
The House of Commons library has warned it will be one of the largest legislative processes "ever undertaken".
Gina Miller, the hedge fund boss who won the legal battle to give MPs a vote on Article 50, also waded into the row and threatened legal action.
She said: “If there is any sniff they are trying to use Henry VIII powers, that would be profoundly unparliamentary and undemocratic.”
But the government has insisted the Repeal Bill was just common sense.
What has Henry VIII got to do with the Great Repeal Bill?
The government plans to make amendments to the book using Henry VIII powers.
In 1539, the king published a 'Statute of Proclamations', which gave him the power to legislate by proclamation.
These so-called Henry VIII powers now give the government power to change old laws already passed by Parliament.
Ministers insist they need these powers to "correct" European laws that refer to EU bodies that will be defunct after Brexit.
But the government has been accused circumventing the House of Lords by using the powers.
What EU laws will be replaced?
Thousands of laws ranging from workers' rights to the environment will be transferred into UK law.
Mr Davis said the Bill would allow Parliament to scrap, amend and improve all EU laws.
It will also end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
The government's white paper on the Bill has no precise figure for the number of EU laws that will be transferred, but there are currently more than 12,000 in force.
Parliament has passed 7,900 statutory instruments implementing EU legislation and 186 Acts which incorporate a degree of EU influence.
The government wants to ensure that continuing with some EU rules and regulations will aid trade negotiations as the UK will already meet its product standards.
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