By Alistair Smout
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will retain thousands of European Union laws for at least the next two years, the government said on Thursday, setting out new targets for the heavily delayed process of removing EU law from the British statute book after Brexit.
Britain had originally aimed to remove all retained EU laws (REUL) by the end of 2023 – a flagship policy for hardline Brexiteers but one which sparked warnings from businesses about legal uncertainty and bureaucratic chaos.
Last May the government ditched that plan, instead proposing the revocation of only around 600 of the remaining EU laws by the end of 2023.
In an update on Monday, the government said it would “revoke or reform approximately 500 instruments” in 2024 and that it hoped to have reviewed or repealed over half of such laws by June 2026.
“The Government is on track to reform or revoke over half of the entire stock of REUL accrued in the more than 40 years that the UK was a member of the EU by June 2026,” the business ministry said in a report.
A government tracker of remaining REUL shows that currently 33% of 6,757 retained laws have been amended, repealed or replaced.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said that the government was “reducing the number of new regulations and ensuring the wider regulatory landscape is effective and fit for purpose.”
“While much has been achieved, there is still much to do,” she said in the introduction of the report.
(The story has been refiled to remove extraneous words in paragraph 3)
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by William James)