A HOLYROOD committee has said it has “deep and wide-ranging” concerns over a UK Government bill that would replace European Union laws.

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL) will see all remaining laws implemented while the UK was a member of the bloc removed at the end of the year if they are not already absorbed into the statute book.

Westminster’s move has caused consternation in devolved legislatures, with Holyrood’s constitution, Europe, external affairs and culture committee saying the bill could have an impact in areas under the power of the Scottish Parliament.

In a report released today, the committee – except for Scottish Conservatives Donald Cameron and Maurice Golden, who dissented against the findings – said the Scottish Parliament should have the power to scrutinise changes to laws which are within devolved competence.

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Under current plans, UK ministers would be allowed to make changes through secondary legislation, which does not require the same legislative consent from the devolved parliaments as a bill does.

“The committee believes – as a point of constitutional principle and simple democratic imperative – that the Scottish Parliament should have the opportunity to effectively scrutinise the exercise of all legislative powers within devolved competence,” the committee’s report said.

“The bill in its current form neither protects nor promotes that principle; nor does it encourage confidence when it comes to the potential impacts on policy areas as crucial and wide-ranging as food standards, animal health, safeguarding the environment, consumer protection, business practice and employment.”

The committee was also warned of a “cliff edge” after the deadline, the “blank cheque powers” that could be given to UK ministers to amend the law, and the possible increase in regulatory divergences between the UK and the EU.

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Clare Adamson, the committee’s convener, said: “The evidence we heard was stark and there is deep concern over the legislative cliff-edge and the threat this bill poses in key areas. But the committee’s concerns on this bill go beyond this and are deep and wide-ranging.

“We are once again in a position of highlighting the strain that intergovernmental processes face post-Brexit. And to have to do so again is deeply frustrating.

“We were also told of blank cheque powers being handed to ministers in terms of their discretion to amend or replace [the] REUL.

“Far-reaching policy changes should be made via a bill, and not through secondary legislation. We ask our colleagues in the House of Lords and Westminster to carefully consider the issues we have raised in our report.”