CHRISTCHURCH MP Chris Chope sparked a noisy reaction in parliament when he said Britain could scrap “ghastly” European Union legislation after Brexit.

Mr Chope, who was a minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, was speaking as the government unveiled its Great Repeal Bill.

The bill will initially enshrine all existing EU-derived legislation into UK law before Britain leaves the union.

But the government has been criticised by the opposition for seeking “sweeping” powers to then change the law with limited scrutiny by MPs.

Mr Chope asked Brexit secretary David Davis: “Can I thank my right honourable friend for making it clear that two years from today our sovereign parliament will indeed have the power to amend, repeal or improve all this ghastly EU legislation?”

After a noisy response by MPs to the question, Mr Davis said: “I will pass on the assessment of the legislation but I will of course reinforce the point I’ve already made, which is the aim of this bill, at the end of the day, is to bring the decisions back to this house.”

Mr Chope’s question was immediately seized on by pro-EU Tory MP Anna Soubry, who tweeted: “Here we go! Hard Brexiteer Christopher Chope wants to change ‘ghastly’ EU laws & directives.”

Former North Dorset MP Robert Walter – who stood down at the 2015 election – also waded into the Brexit debate on Twitter.

Quoting former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, who said Theresa May had “sadly” changed her mind on Europe, Mr Walter said: “I joined party 52 years ago because I shared Ted Heath's vision of Britain in Europe. I haven't changed my mind either.”