Brexiteer Tories have warned against pushing back a deadline for a bonfire of EU laws. It comes amid fears the Government’s plan for axing Brussels laws on the UK statute book by 2023 could be delayed following the discovery of an additional 1,400 pieces of legislation.
There were plans for the 2,400 EU laws retained in Britain to be reviewed or repealed by the end of next year.
But fresh doubts have been raised over the deadline after ministers working with the National Archives made the extra find, which takes the total to 3,800.
Conservative Brexiteers have urged the Government to press on with the timetable.
Tory MP Marcus Fysh told Express.co.uk: “A deadline is important to add urgency to the task of increasing competitiveness.”
And former Brexit minister David Jones said he “absolutely” believed the bonfire of EU red tape could be wrapped up by the end of next year, adding that he would be “very unhappy” if there was a delay.
Grant Shapps, who took over from Jacob Rees-Mogg as Business Secretary after Rishi Sunak became PM, is said to be keen to slow down the review of Brussels laws as it will tie up hundreds of extra staff.
An ally told the Financial Times: “We will slow things down to a sane pace.”
Mr Shapps’ predecessor Mr Rees-Mogg spearheaded the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill during his time in Government.
The Bill aims to complete the review of the 2,400 pieces of retained EU law by the end of 2023.
It is in its Committee Stage in the Commons and could be amended to as late as 2026.
Mr Sunak had already ditched his pledge during the summer Tory leadership race to complete the exercise within 100 days.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic yesterday called on the UK to abandon the plans altogether.
He said it would lead to “even more cost” on British businesses at a time of “severe economic strains”.
In a speech in London, Mr Sefcovic said: “More divergence will carry even more cost and will further deepen the barriers to trade between the EU and the UK.”
Speaking in the Commons last month, Mr Rees-Mogg hailed the Bill as “removing the supremacy of EU law”.
And he accused those opposed to a bonfire of retained EU laws of “fighting the Brexit battle over again”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The issue of supremacy is of constitutional importance and I’d say anybody who opposes the removal of the supremacy of EU law is fighting the Brexit battle over again.
“It’s about saying ‘we didn’t really leave after all, we’d like to pretend we’re still there and isn’t it nice to allow this alien law to continue to tell us what we ought to do’.”