Brexit Secretary David Davis unveiled the Great Repeal Bill White Paper to the House of Commons on Thursday 30 March, with a claim that the draft legislation would provide businesses, workers and consumers with certainty after the UK splits from the EU.
The document comes just a day after Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and started the two-year-long Brexit talks. The Great Repeal Bill is designed so that all EU law is converted into UK legislation so that Parliament can amend, build on or repeal the rules.
"At the heart of the referendum decision was sovereignty. A strong, independent country needs control of its own laws. That process starts now," Davis said.
"Converting EU law into UK law, and ending the supremacy of lawmakers in Brussels, is an important step in giving businesses, workers and consumers the certainty they need.
"And it will mean that as we seek a comprehensive new economic partnership with the EU, our allies will know that we start from a position where we have the same standards and rules."
But the Brexit Secretary's announcement came amid fears that the bill could give the government "sweeping powers" since up to 1,000 statutory instruments – executive orders – may need to be passed to "correct" EU law.
The Hansard Society has also highlighted the use of so-called "Henry VIII clauses" or delegated legislation, which enables acts of Parliament to be scrapped or amended without going through the normal process and scrutiny of tabling new laws.
"Theresa May and her ministers are resembling a medieval court more and more every single day. This shameless power grab under the cloak of secondary legislation would have made Henry VIII blush," said Liberal Democrat chief whip Tom Brake MP.
"If needed, we will grind the government's agenda to a standstill, unless proper and rigorous safeguards are given over the Great Repeal Bill. The ball is now in the prime minister's court.
"Liberal Democrats will fight to maintain the high standards for the environment, health, safety, consumer protection, employment and equalities that the UK currently adheres to as an EU member. Nobody voted to diminish their rights, make themselves poorer or to make their country less safe."