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Letter: Proposed Post-Brexit Legislative Changes Will Affect Us Here in Guildford

Published on: 21 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 20 Jan, 2023

From: Sue Hackman

spokesperson for Guildford Labour

It would be nice not to think about Brexit anymore. Alas, Brexit did not end when the UK left the EU.

The Retained EU Law Bill is a sinister reminder of the purpose of Brexit, to set aside European protections for ordinary people. These include workers’ rights, environmental standards and consumer protections.

It gives ministers Henry VIII-style powers to scrap around 4,000 UK laws without referring them to Parliament and proper democratic scrutiny.

It will affect all of us in Guildford – our job security, our holiday pay, our phone bills, the hygiene of the food we buy, water purity… it’s a long list of everyday rights we take for granted now.

This is regressive legislation to erode services and rights behind a smokescreen of anti-EU sentiment and pompous nationalism. It is not the time to be bearing down on hard-pressed families when they already have so much to bear.

But what else can Sunak do but concede once again to his far-right colleagues? They have him in their grip.

Consumer protections… gone. Workers’ rights… gone. Environmental standards… gone. No one voted for this, and we should not accept it.


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Responses to Letter: Proposed Post-Brexit Legislative Changes Will Affect Us Here in Guildford

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 21, 2023 at 8:45 am

    I think it is easy to conflate facts while ignoring 20 per cent food inflation in Germany and fuel shortage in Canada. These problems are more to do with Covid and the World Economic forum’s great reset. They want us to: own nothing and be happy, stop using gas, switch to all electric for more control by the powers that be, and more digital IDs, as suggested by Tony Blair at the World Economic Forum two days ago.

    The removal of laws we never voted for, forced on the UK without debate by an unelected body in Brussels is not the problem.

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      January 22, 2023 at 3:04 pm

      Jim Allen is correct, “The removal of laws we never voted for ….” is not a problem simply because it’s another of those lies used to influence.

      I think the relentless propaganda, is warping people’s memories about the constitution of the EU and how it is linked to national legislation.

      As Major Hazard manager at BOC Gases Europe and BP plc before in 1980/1990, through UK and European Trade Associations, we had better dialogue with the EU Commission and MEPs than HSE [Health & Safety Executive] and MPs.

      Once directives and regulations (with UK involvement) were approved in Brussels, including UK delegates and MEPs, they had to be converted to UK legislation. Only directives were compulsory, but if taken, regulations also had to go through full parliament process.

      Just a quick thought. UK had several points where they were able to influence EU Law, and never did it become UK legislation without due parliament process.

      Many directives and regulations only required minor amendments to existing UK Law. It’s this government that wants to remove all EU laws with no discussion or debate, unlike when they were adopted.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    January 21, 2023 at 9:03 am

    Sue Hackman appears to have missed the obvious point that Brexit has not yet taken place.

    The removal of the 4,000+ EU laws imposed on us without proper scrutiny should have happened several years ago.

    The fake Conservative party is trying desperately to recover some of its popularity by at last pretending to obey the wishes of the majority of the people (as shown in 2016) but it is a bit late now.

    The party will have to do a lot more than this to avoid the disaster of Starmer’s Socialists taking over.

    • Lynda MacDermott Reply

      January 25, 2023 at 11:02 am

      This is just not true. The UK was a leading member of the EU, leading in all aspects of EU parliament law-making through MEPs and our representatives on the European Council, all EU directives which were brought to UK Parliament and discussed.

      What is happening now is that money is being wasted by hundreds of civil servants working on these laws to remove our rights and protections whilst we have no say at all. That’s not my idea of sovereignty – that’s dictatorship.

      This is just one example of Brexit madness that needs to be taken on board. EU laws made sure our foods were pure. Foodstuffs now enter the country with no checks at all. Listen to Farming Today on BBC R4 and see what those dealing with the fallout from Brexit are saying.

  3. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    January 21, 2023 at 9:42 am

    The Retained EU Law Bill needs to be examined and debated thoroughly as many of the rights people expect and rely on may disappear before we realise with a wide range of consequences.

    Ramsey Nagaty is the leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group at GBC.

  4. M Durant Reply

    January 22, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    Brexit what a mess, all based on lies.

    Since Brexit I would love to move permanently to Europe but I can’t – thanks to Brexit.

    I am sick and tired of hearing how the EU is bad and how inflation is higher over there. It isn’t. Our inflation is higher than Sweden, Greece and Cyprus you can check on

    Funny how it is cheaper to shop in the European Lidl but not in one of the big British supermarkets.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    January 22, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Mr Barnes’s comment reminds me of those diehard Marxists who argue that Communism failed only because it was never tried. It is the kind of fallacy that seems to be a comfort to disappointed fanatics everywhere, be they Communists, Islamists, neo-Nazis or Brexiteers.

    Exiting the EU was always going to be a catastrophe spread over many years: as a foreign affairs professional, I estimated that the basic, technical transition would take at least 10 years, and restoring Britain’s trashed reputation even longer. But re-entering the EU would involve frictional costs on a similar scale so is probably not a sensible option for a generation or two.

    In the meantime, politicians should heed “the will of the people”. Of those who voted for Brexit in 2016, at least a million are now dead and surveys suggest that two-thirds of today’s voters think Brexit was a mistake. A case of buyers’ remorse.

    The only answer is to seek ad hoc arrangements to restore a closer relationship with Europe, including the Single Market and Customs Union. This will be thankless, gruelling work, as the Swiss have found over decades of negotiation.

    In terms of rebuilding the necessary trust, the Retained EU Law Bill goes in exactly the wrong direction, cutting ourselves off further from Europe and creating the same sort of pointless bureaucracy and economic burdens blamed by Brexiteers on Brussels. Unfortunately, serious damage limitation cannot even begin under a Tory government held hostage by far-right crackpots.

    • Stuart Barnes Reply

      January 24, 2023 at 8:57 am

      Cutting through the hyperbole, Mr Roberts seems to be saying that the will of the people should be ignored if he disagrees with it.

      That is a novel approach to democracy and I would point out that the majority voted to get out of the EU not just once but twice, once in 2016 by a clear majority and secondly in 2019 by a landslide. Any political party that stands on a programme of taking our country back into or too close to the failed EU superstate would be asking for another beating at the ballot box.

      The Remainers have prevented Brexit for too long – it is time to “Get Brexit Done”. The 4,000+ laws are just the beginning, there is the Northern Ireland mess to be dealt with, and the fishing, and the illegal immigration, etc.

      If only we had had a genuine Conservative government over the last few years all this could have been done long ago.

      • Mark Stamp Reply

        January 24, 2023 at 4:29 pm

        Mr Barnes talks about democracy but is in support of thousands of laws being removed from the statute book, on a single day, so government ministers, who can’t even spell out what all of these laws do, can get their way without any scrutiny of parliament.

        How is this democratic?

        • Stuart Barnes Reply

          January 24, 2023 at 10:48 pm

          It seems absolutely just that the laws forced on our country without scrutiny or debate or democratic means, should be removed by a similar process to that used when they were imposed.

          If there are any that are considered to be relevant, they can be brought back with a full debate later, but we must get Brexit done first.

      • David Pillinger Reply

        January 25, 2023 at 11:10 am

        Brexit was never the will of the people. It was the outcome of a marginal referendum where the question and also the Brexit process were ambiguous to the extreme. The debate was shrouded in massive misinformation on the pro-Brexit side (all the Remain side’s fears about Brexit are now proving to have been correct) and there was a low turnout from the people most affected. Additionally, as is the way in Britain outside of general Elections, there was a huge amount of protest voting against the government of the day which heavily backed Remain.

        The decision should have been taken by our democratically elected representatives, the overwhelming majority of whom (regardless of party) was anti-Brexit, being generally well-informed people who understood the complex matter well.

        Before I am goaded to start on being undemocratic, let me just state that I think referendums are the dumbest type of democratic tool and should never be used, especially for complex matters.

    • S Callanan Reply

      January 25, 2023 at 1:40 pm

      “Of those who voted for Brexit in 2016, at least a million are now dead and surveys suggest that two-thirds of today’s voters think Brexit was a mistake. A case of buyers’ remorse.”

      “Surveys suggest” sounds about as reliable as “our survey said” on Family Fortunes. And I’d never come across the death argument in relation to a democratic process until the novelist Ian McEwan observed in May of 2017 that the death of one and a half million elderly Brexit supporters would be enough to swing a second Brexit vote.

      What a jolly good idea. But why stop there? Think how many decisions voted for might be reversed by a bad winter. Or by letting youngsters drive without passing a test. Or by legalising hard drugs.

      So what’s the point of the argument? In any given Parliament there will be people dying off in numbers sufficient to have possibly produced a different result had the same matter been put to the vote at a later date. So what? We live with the consequences of the decision made at the time. That’s the way democracy works, isn’t it?

      • Richard Carpenter Reply

        January 25, 2023 at 6:48 pm

        The simple answer is ‘no’, democracy doesn’t work like that. If it did:
        1. most relevantly, the 2016 referendum would never have happened because the 1975 referendum stated quite clearly that the UK should remain in the European Community;
        2. only property owners would have the vote;
        3. women would be denied the vote;
        4. Catholics would be denied the vote and prevented from taking public office;
        5. non-attendance of a Church of England Sunday Service would be punishable by a 6d (2.5p) fine for every missed service.

        The list of changes that could never have happened is virtually endless. But if you’re bored you could make many additions.

        For starters, I’d concentrate on marriage, divorce, racial prejudice, equal pay, and men carrying a red flag in front of any motorised vehicles. That should keep you amused for a month or so, at least

  6. Dave Middleton Reply

    January 22, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    Why can’t M Durant move permanently to a European country? Presumably, if he meets their desired country’s entry requirements, he can apply for a visa, a residence permit and ultimately citizenship and permanent residence in that country.

    If he feels the UK is such an awful place, you might even be able to claim asylum!

  7. Richard Carpenter Reply

    January 24, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Sue Hackman makes very fair and very worrying points. There is colossally self-destructive thinking that underlies the entire Retained EU Law Bill (REUL Bill).

    The thinking is that every single one of the 4,000 UK laws that could now be repealed at a stroke (and without replacement or equivalent measures) were passed by a dictatorial EU and against the wishes of the British parliament and people.

    Even from a common sense point of view that must sound extremely unlikely, especially over a 40-year period. It is also untrue.

    In my working life I was personally involved in EU negotiations on food, alcohol, and construction waste regulations. Some of these were actually proposed by various UK governments. But in all cases each EU country produced its own set of regulations that were hammered out through months (or years) of consultations with the industry, courts and consumer groups within that country. The result was that each EU country produced its own variant of the regulation, and the differences between the laws passed in different EU countries were often considerable.

    If anyone doubts that, then just compare the UK’s laws on construction waste disposal with those of Germany and Italy. The point is that EU ‘directives’ were not laws in themselves. Often they comprised less than a single side of A4 that simply got each member state to come up with its own laws on the subject matter in question.

    Normally when a government wants to change a law it has to propose that change and put it to Parliament. The terrifyingly stupid prospect under the REUL Bill provisions is that one government can get rid of any or all laws it doesn’t like in an instant, and before it even starts thinking about what, if anything, it might need in replacement. Now that’s a real dictatorship!

  8. David Pillinger Reply

    January 25, 2023 at 10:15 am

    So tragic to see Britain’s stamp on the modern world being eroded by this embarrassing mentality. The Single Market, a British creation that I believe benefitted this country more than any other in Europe, the alignment of standards which made business easy within the world’s biggest and richest market, etc… all up in flames with Brexit.

    As predicted, Britain is now becoming less significant in the world, diminishing in influence, absent from international decision-making… basically a small, standalone country in a global world facing multiple issues and threats. All the stats show it undeniably. I ask anyone thinking otherwise to travel the world and ask influential people what they think the point of Britain is today in the global context since Brexit.

    What we see now reminds me of the slow decline of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s, before it joined the global world through cooperation with other Europeans, leading eventually to its centrality in the creation of the Single Market.

  9. Brian Creese Reply

    January 25, 2023 at 10:23 am

    There are so many misunderstandings here it is hard to know where to start. Firstly, just because a law arose in the EU does not mean it was forced upon us or was undemocratic in any way. The EU was another layer of our national administration; laws were debated and agreed at both the EU parliament level and government minister level. It should also be noted that we were happy to use these tools to shape Europe in our own interest when the opportunity arose.

    There seems to be an assumption that these 4,000 laws must in some way be against our national interest. In fact, I suspect some correspondents have no idea what is in most of them.

    Some will probably be of little use, some may be seen as negative by one party but not the other and some will clearly be for the greater good – the ones Sue Hackman refers to concerning employer rights or environmental standards.

    I have no objection to the government proposing to scrap a law for a particular reason after informed debate, but simply ditching 4,000 laws, without even knowing what the impact will be, seems reckless at best.

    Brian Creese is chair of Guildford Labour

  10. Ian Stewart Reply

    January 25, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    The default position of the EU Retained Law Bill as it currently stands is that all EU Regulations and Directives transposed into UK legislation on Brexit will cease to apply at midnight on December 31 2023 unless a case is made for retention of a particular law is made.

    I have yet to find a comprehensive list of these laws and the original assumption of around 2,500 has now risen to nearly 4,000, but there may be many more unidentified as yet.

    As Sue Hackman says, these laws cover food safety, consumer rights, workers’ protection and much more that improve our lives and which we all take for granted at the moment without thinking of where the law came from.

    If we are to replace them with identical laws (and there’s no sign of that being done) why do it in the first place? And if we are lowering standards or removing regulations, not only will that have impacts on the health, security and environmental safety of our citizens but it will adversely affect the UK’s reputation and its ability to secure trade deals in the future.

    To trade with the EU we need to maintain EU standards, otherwise we lose out on a huge market and raise deep suspicion amongst many other markets globally. This Bill is extremely damaging and should be scrapped.

  11. Susan Fox Reply

    January 25, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    I am not a fan of either of the two “main” parties and certainly not Brexit which has meant the rest of the world now views us as a small divided island going downhill fast. For forty-odd years the UK was a leading member of Europe represented at the top table by Government Ministers of StateIt was respected and represented by a diverse selection of MPs in the European Parliament.

    Now, we have small groups of MPs who hold nations to ransom (eg Northern Ireland) where despite the wishes of the electorate people are denied a representative parliament while there is a political stalemate.

    Meanwhile, Westminster seeks to deny a basic human right – that of the right to withdraw one’s labour, ie to go on strike, when ministers won’t even talk to employees’ representatives about pay.

    The bare minimum we should be talking about is the Single Market, a Customs Union and Free Movement of Labour – which would sort out the immediate problems. It would also be great if everyone could enjoy the right to be able to have a roof over their head, enough to eat (without foodbanks) and heating.

    Democracy and the right to vote, for which many people died, matter. That right includes the ability to change your mind.

  12. Dale Miller Reply

    January 25, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    I fully support the comments in Sue Hackman’s excellent letter.

    We should all be very worried indeed by the Retained EU Law Bill and the danger it represents to our rights. Our increasingly authoritarian Conservative Government is pushing this anti-democratic legislation through for murky, self-serving, ideological reasons and simply because it can.

    The voters gave them a huge majority at the last General Election so, no matter that this was not in their manifesto nor “on the side of the bus”. They have the power to do it so they are.

    The pity of it is that Guildford’s Conservative MP, Angela Richardson, has gone along with it. Elected to represent the people of Guildford, she has abandoned us, doing her party’s every reprehensible bidding. If or when we all lose our rights we should remember who took them away.

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