Only 13.2% of UK laws come from what we agree in Europe

Update: This blog post has been updated since it was first written. Two days after I wrote it, the House of Commons Library corrected a mathematical error in calculating the headline figure. The original figure was 12.8%; the revised figure is now 13.2%.

The House of Commons Library has just updated its report on the percentage of law affecting the UK that’s agreed at European level.

By looking at all Acts of Parliament and implementing measures passed in the last 20 years, they have come to the conclusion that an average of 1.4% of Acts and 12.9% of implementing measures relate to the EU. Overall:

Average of 13.2% of UK instruments are EU-related

The truth is so strikingly different from UKIP’s usual vastly inflated “estimates” that it’s almost funny. So will UKIP promptly apologise and withdraw their claims? Or will they try to ignore or ridicule this latest evidence too, as they have every similar study to date, and keep on repeating the lies that suit their political agenda? I wonder!

Incidentally, it gets even worse for the eurosceptics if you read the small print. When we think of our laws being ‘made in Brussels’, we tend to imagine cases where national laws are created just to implement what we agree at EU level. But the figure of 13.2% actually includes many other laws (the “vast majority”, according to the report) which simply mention the EU or define an EU term for UK purposes. These are not really laws being made in Brussels at all — they are our own, home-grown legislation. So even the 13.2% figure is very much on the high side.

The House of Commons Library is an independent, politically neutral research unit based in Westminster which provides factual data to MPs. As it has no campaigning role and is not funded by any organisation with a political agenda, its data is probably about the best we can hope to get.

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