By 326 votes in favour to 290 against, British MPs voted in favour of the Great Repeal Bill on Tuesday.
The bill ends the UK’s EU membership and passed with votes from the Conservatives and the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Seven Labour MPs also backed the bill their party called “an affront to parliamentary democracy.”
The so-called repeal bill transfers a legal body of 12,000 EU regulations to British law. It does so by appealing the 1972 law of joining the European Community.
The bill hands EU powers over to the British government, which has infuriated both the opposition and devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales. One Labour MP called the process “the biggest peace time power grab by the executive over the legislature, by the government over parliament, in 100 years.”
Under the bill, ministers are given the power to implement the Brexit deal, whatever that is, without parliamentary consent. Moreover, ministers will have the power to change EU regulation on the environment and workers’ rights, the opposition argues.
The debate will continue over the next few weeks, as the bill will face the scrutiny of the opposition and Conservative backbenchers. They have already proposed 157 amendments, covering 59 pages. Conservative backbenchers are keen to limit the time the government is handed authority and to give the parliament a final say over the Brexit deal and restore the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.