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Leader/Times Column 25th November 2016

Earlier this month the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, updated MPs on preparations for triggering Article 50. This is the process of negotiating our way out of the EU. How it goes will shape our country’s future and in the long term will affect us all.

It is still early days and it would be foolish for our Government to say too much about what it wants to get out of the negotiations. But it is understandable that we all want more detail about the direction of travel. 

What the Brexit Secretary set out was broadly how leaving the EU will happen. Article 50 will be triggered by March 2017 and last two years. Separately, in the next Parliamentary session starting in May, the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will be tabled that will end the authority of EU law and return power to the UK.

This will transport EU law into UK law at the time we leave. That way, businesses and workers have certainty about their legal rights. Thereafter, these laws can be kept or changed but that will be decided here – not in Brussels. It will fall to future Governments to ensure worker’s rights are protected but this one has been clear it wants to protect the rights we all have in the workplace.

David Davis also responded to the High Court’s verdict that the Government must go through Parliament to trigger Article 50. The Government disagrees with the decision, as do I, and has challenged it in the Supreme Court, which will look at the case next month.

Whatever the Court decide does not change the Referendum result, which must be respected. Although it will take time, leaving the EU will happen. Meanwhile, our Government must continue to provide as much certainty as it can throughout the process and look to reassure people regardless of which way they voted in the referendum.

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