[Text on screen]: Henry VIII &... Brexit?! Wait, what?
Okay, stay with us. How do you deal with the massive task of taking a country out of the EU? You get help from a long-dead monarch, obviously!
Today, Henry VIII is best remembered for being a less-than-stellar husband. But in between divorcing and beheading wives, he also found time to create something called...the Statute of Proclamations.
Giving himself powers to make or change laws without going through Parliament. Because, you know, nobody tells Henry Tudor what to do.
These powers are actually still a thing, and they’re called Henry VIII clauses in his honour. This is how they work:
Normally, before a law is passed, a bill is proposed in either the House of Lords or the House of Commons. It’s then passed to the other House to be scrutinised and debated.
After several rounds of hot potato, the bill is finally passed to the monarch to give their approval, before finally becoming a law. However,
if the Government adds a Henry VIII clause into a bill they’re able to revoke or change that law at their own discretion once it’s passed.
Because, you know, nobody tells the Government what to do. Which brings us to Brexit. Hey, look alive, we’ve got two more years of this!
In March 2017, Britain officially started the two-year process of leaving the EU. So by 2019, we should have deleted each other’s numbers, blocked each other on social media and given back any old t-shirts or CDs we still had lying around.
Currently, many of the UK’s laws come directly from the European Union. The Government plans to keep these laws by way of something called a...Great Repeal Bill. Which will essentially convert all those EU laws into UK laws.
But here’s the thing - the government’s proposed bill includes, you guessed it: Henry VIII clauses.
Giving the government unprecedented control over huge parts of UK law, and ultimately our rights. Trade, immigration, workers' rights. The government could amend laws impacting all of these, without consulting Parliament.
Critics of the Government have said that there need to be rigorous safeguards to protect our rights. The truth is, nobody really knows what Brexit will bring.
But in this uncertain time, we need to be vigilant and defend our rights. Because 500-year-old kings - and even our own government - could be putting them at risk.