The UK's "great repeal bill" to discard some EU laws and make sure others remain part of British law will appear early next year before the government pulls the Article 50 trigger to leave the union.
But the bill would not be about "tearing up EU law," said David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, in the House of Commons. It will rather be "the first stage" of Brexit "so we are ready for the day of our withdrawal." Prime Minister Theresa May said October 2 that she will move to begin leaving the union in March 2017.
Some parts of the EU will remain part of Britain. "We will not be withdrawing employment rights as part of this process," said Davis, as he assured Parliamentarians that EU employment laws would continue to be part of British law.
The resulting repeal bill will roll back the 1972 European Communities Act that gave EU laws the power to take effect in the union's member nations. There are roughly 40 years of European law that affect the UK.
No back door EU for Britain
It is "right that we end the authority of European union law," said Davis, but he insisted that much of the great repeal bill will "convert existing law into domestic law" and fill gaps to ensure there isn't a "black hole in our statute book."
Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Keir Starmer, however, took Davis to task because there was nothing "at all in the statement today" to indicate whether the UK plans to stay in the EU's single market. Other Labour MPs cited reports that prices for basic goods would rise if the UK wasn't able to retain access to the single market.
The EU has been steadfast that without free movement of EU workers to the UK, Britain will not be able to retain single market access.
"We want the most open, barrier free access to the European market. The best terms, that's it," said Davis. But he said he would not tolerate "any attempt to undo, hold up, or keep Britain in the EU by the back door."