Politics

UK businessman warns of major trade risk of scrapping EU laws

Brexit ‘solution staring us in the face’ claims Maier

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Siemens’ former CEO Juergen Maier warned Rishi Sunak’s plan to scrap all unwanted EU legislation from the UK’s statute book would have dire consequences for Britain’s economy. If Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet decide to move forward with the leadership pledge, the EU could raise tariff barriers and deal a severe blow to British exporters. Mr Maier added the recent government discovery, reported by The Financial Times, of an additional 1,400 pieces of EU legislation raised questions about the Prime Minister’s attention to detail.

The businessman told Sky News’ Business Review: “So, it’s a thousand more than there were that now need to be repealed. 

“And the question that I ask is – how can you be sure that you need to repeal all or scrap these laws if you don’t even know they exist?

“It’s just mind-boggling. It just shows how the people who are making these promises really aren’t in the detail and really don’t know what they’re doing. 

“And the second thing that’s remarkable – and that’s forgotten in all of this – is that we signed up to a withdrawal agreement that says that we will commit to a level-playing field on standards and regulation.”

Mr Maier said: “And so, the more we go down the route of scrapping and repealing laws, the more chance there is we will end up in the debate of having tariffs slapping British exporters that will of course be very costly to British exporters. 

“And I think we all agree that we can’t afford that right now.”

The Financial Times’ story reported another 1,400 EU laws were discovered in the UK’s statute book, complicating Rishi Sunak’s promise to deliver on his pledge to scrap unwanted EU legislation. 

Instead of 2,400 EU laws, researchers at the National Archives found out ministers now have to go through a total of 3,800 pieces of legislation ranging from environmental protections to workers’ rights and passenger compensation rules. 

A spokesperson for BEIS said: “The process of identifying and recording EU-derived legislation is an ongoing process and an essential exercise in accelerating regulatory reform and reclaiming the UK statute book.

“The government’s record of legislation will be refined over time, as more retained EU legislation is repealed, replaced, or identified.”

Rishi Sunak’s Government plans to scrap all EU legislation through the retained EU law bill, which is currently at committee stage in Parliament.

The bill was championed by former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg as an opportunity to free Britain from the restraints of EU legislation.

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Reacting to the discovery, Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted: “These laws are ones departments do not use and were dredged up from the National Archive. Removing them is simple and the fact that they were unknown shows the absurdity of retained EU law. It must go.”

Mr Sunak’s office declined to say whether the legislation might be amended, adding the government is proceeding with the bill.

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