Commons Speaker fumes at Badenoch over announcement of EU laws U-turn
Lindsay Hoyle fumes at Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch as Commons Speaker takes her to task for failing to announce EU laws U-turn to MPs and asks: ‘Who do you think you are speaking to?!’
- Sir Lindsay Hoyle is angered by Kemi Badenoch’s response to his telling-off
Sir Lindsay Hoyle today took Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch to task for failing to announce the Government’s U-turn on EU laws to the House of Commons chamber.
In a furious clash with the Cabinet minister, the Commons Speaker told Ms Badenoch it was ‘not acceptable’.
And, angered by Ms Badenoch’s response to him, Sir Lindsay fumed: ‘Who do you think you’re speaking to, secretary of state?’.
The Business Secretary yesterday revealed the Government was scaling back a promised ‘bonfire’ of EU laws in a written statement to MPs, while she also penned a newspaper article to explain the move.
Both Ms Badenoch and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are facing a Tory Brexiteer backlash over the watering-down of the promise to scrap thousands of retained Brussels regulations by the end of this year.
But Sir Lindsay’s fury at the Government was reserved for the way the announcement had been made.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle took Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch to task for failing to announce the Government’s U-turn on EU laws to the House of Commons chamber
In a furious clash with the Cabinet minister, the Commons Speaker told Ms Badenoch it was ‘not acceptable’
In a statement before Ms Badenoch answered an urgent question in the Commons this morning, the Speaker said: ‘Given the importance of this announcement, on such matters full engagement with Parliament and its committees is essential.
‘I will remind Government, we are elected to hear it first, not to read it in the Telegraph and certainly not a WMS (written ministerial statement) is satisfactory on such an important matter.’
Ms Badenoch said: ‘I’m very sorry that the sequencing that we chose was not to your satisfaction.’
But Sir Lindsay took issue with the Cabinet minister’s response and replied: ‘That is totally not acceptable. Who do you think you’re speaking to, secretary of state?’
Ms Badenoch responded: ‘I apologise, what I was trying to say was that I’m very sorry that I did not meet the standards which you expect of secretaries of state.’
During his Tory leadership campaign last summer, Mr Sunak vowed to review or repeal 2,400 retained EU laws in his first 100 days as PM.
When he eventually entered No10 in late October, Mr Sunak stuck to a deadline to scrub EU regulations still on the UK statute books by the end of this year.
But yesterday it was announced that rather getting rid of thousands of pieces of retained EU legislation, which have now been found to total 4,829, the Government will only revoke 600 laws by the end of December.
Senior Tory Brexiteers have expressed their fury at Mr Sunak over his watering-down of the aims of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.
Both Ms Badenoch and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are facing a Tory Brexiteer backlash over the watering-down of the promise to scrap thousands of retained Brussels regulations by the end of this year
After her clash with Sir Lindsay, the Business Secretary told MPs she had decided to focus on the repeal of 600 laws as the ‘best way to deliver’ post-Brexit legislative reforms and insisted it was ‘not the Prime Minister’s decision’ to do so.
Ms Badenoch has heaped blame on Whitehall officials for the move by saying she had inherited a situation in which the focus was on which laws should be preserved, ‘rather than pursuing the meaningful reform Government and businesses want to see’.
In her WMS, she yesterday acknowledged there are ‘risks of legal uncertainty’ by automatically scrapping the copied-over EU laws by the end of the year through a sunset clause in the Bill.
She said ministers will amend the Bill making its way through Parliament to replace the current sunset clause with a list of 600 EU laws to be revoked by the end of the year.
A further 500 pieces of retained EU legislation would be revoked by other means, the minister claimed, but it was unclear if that will happen by the end of the year.
It had been estimated that around 3,700 laws would need ditching but governmental departments have now identified around 4,829 retained laws.
Ms Badenoch said around 1,000 had been scrapped or altered already, though Government data shows 906 EU laws have been dealt with so far, and only 245 of those have been repealed.
A Government audit of retained EU law – to identify where Brussels’ rules should be removed, replaced or updated – has been ongoing since 2021.
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