Bonfire of EU rules! Scrapping of policy post-Brexit sparks panic

Brexit: Tory MP calls for end to Brussels ‘red-tape’

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The most recent Cabinet reshuffle saw a newly-created role of Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency handed to Jacob Rees-Mogg. Already in the position, Mr Rees-Mogg has highlighted his desire to scrap retained regulations which “make life harder for small businesses,..shut out competition, or simply increase the cost of operating”. But a former Government lawyer has raised concerns the plans could be forced through without parliamentary scrutiny.

A single Bill will remove all retained EU law through backstage regulations, the Independent reports.

Eleonor Duhs, who worked on the 2018 EU Withdrawal Act, told the paper the idea was “dangerous”.

She told the Commons European Scrutiny committee: “Changing data protection law is very central to the Government’s post-Brexit policy.”

A central issue she raised regarding the so-called ‘EU bonfire’ related to the marking of exams.

Ms Duhs said: “We all remember the A-levels fiasco in 2020, when an algorithm decided what A-level students’ results should be and research showed that the poorest students received worse marks.

“These sorts of decisions are really quite dangerous, potentially, and the Information Commissioner’s Office said it didn’t agree that this human review of automated decision making should be removed.”

Article 22 of GDPR, the law Ms Duhs referred to, was brought into the UK statute book during Brexit but has looked likely to be removed for some months, in the post-Brexit era.

Some believe removing – or, at the least, reviewing and rewriting – the law would help British business.

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The article guarantees that people can seek a human review of a decision made by an algorithm.

A Government task force led by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, quoted in the Financial Times, said last May it made it “burdensome, costly and impractical” for an organisation to use ‘artificial intelligence’ to automate routine processes.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added that any decision on the article “will keep people’s data safe and secure, while ushering in a new golden age of growth and innovation right across the UK, as we build back better from the pandemic”.

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Jonathan Jones, a former Government legal chief, told the Independent there were “hundreds of other” examples of protections that could also be ditched on the down-low.

He said any decision must involve “meaningful democratic input” from within parliament.

Some would argue that of the EU, Britain would be able to create its own regulations which were more tailored to British demands.

On employment laws, businessman and former MEP Ben Habib has highlighted the UK’s pre-standing advantage over the bloc.

He told Express.co.uk: “It was the UK, ahead of the EU, that championed workers’ rights.

“Our employment laws are actually more protective of the workforce than the EU.”

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