Theresa May has been urged to echo Clement Attlee's 'radical' post-war government
Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose encouraged the Prime Minister to grasp the “once-in-a-generation chance” to reshape Britain once Parliament regains control over large areas of legislation.
After triggering Article 50 and formally notifying the EU of Britain’s departure, the Government outlined plans for its Great Repeal Bill to end the supremacy of Brussels law.
This will also convert the whole of EU legislation into UK law on the day of the UK’s exit from the bloc, with MPs then being able to decide which laws to scrap and which to keep.
Hailing how Britain will be put “fully in control of our own destiny for the first time in 40 years”, Mr Penrose called on ministers to copy Clement Attlee’s Labour government in the years after the Second World War by reshaping Britain “for decades to come”.
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In a comment piece for the BrexitCentral website, Mr Penrose wrote: “It creates a huge opportunity; a moment when we can think more deeply about some pretty fundamental issues affecting the UK’s future, which we haven’t needed or been able to think about for the 40 years we’ve spent under the EU’s umbrella.
“We should be genuinely radical as we forge this brave new post-Brexit Britain.”
The former Cabinet Office minister highlighted agriculture, fishing and immigration as part of the UK’s “once-in-a-generation chance to leave a mark for our grandchildren; to set the framework of a new and better Britain; to define the structures and social settlement of our country for decades to come”.
He added: “The post-war Attlee government did it, setting up the NHS and the welfare state, and we can do the same in our time now.”
The post-war Attlee government did it, setting up the NHS and the welfare state, and we can do the same in our time now
Tory MP John Penrose
Mr Penrose also dismissed Remainers’ opposition to the Great Repeal Bill over the use of so-called Henry VIII powers.
These powers allow Government to tinker with legislation without full parliamentary scrutiny with ministers arguing they will be needed to correct a large number of EU laws that won’t work properly when converted into UK law.
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Fund manager Gina Miller, who last year led a court battle against the Prime Minister’s ability to trigger Article 50 without Parliament’s approval, has threatened fresh legal action over the Government’s proposed use of Henry VIII powers.
She recently accused Theresa May of “ acting like an medieval power-crazed monarch”.
Brexit day: images from around the country as Britain invokes Article 50 Mon, April 3, 2017
The country reacts as Theresa May officially invokes Article 50, and begins the process of Britain leaving the European Union
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Pro-EU demonstrators protest outside Parliament
But Mr Penrose described Remainers’ objections as “tosh” describing how it would take the best part of a year of Parliament sitting 24 hours a day to debate every single change to EU law required by Brexit.
He said: “Both [Brexit Secretary] David Davis and the Prime Minister have promised that all the serious changes will only happen through full-scale Acts of Parliament.
“It’s only the large number of tediously necessary minor alterations, like making sure we’ve switched the powers of every single European regulator or bureaucratic agency across to their British equivalents in time for the first day of Brexit, that will be dealt with in long, long lists of uncontroversial Parliamentary nod-throughs.”