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Laura Pidcock questions ministers on workers' rights after Brexit

29 October 2019

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The Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights, Laura Pidcock MP, has asked an urgent question on post-Brexit workers' rights.

Last week, the Financial Times reported on a leaked paper from the Department for Exiting the European Union. The report said that the Government was planning to lower standards on workers' rights after Brexit.

Laura Pidcock MP asked an urgent question to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on this leak.

"They are seeking to use the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, as with their whole Brexit strategy, to sell out workers"

The Shadow Minister told MPs that the leaked documents undermined the Government's assurances to MPs that rights would be protected.

She stated that the report demonstrated that their Brexit deal was a "blueprint" for further deregulation, pointing towards the Government's removal of the 'level playing field' rules and standards designed to ensure fair competition between EU countries. 

The Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights said:

"The leaked memos […] shine a light on the true politics of this Conservative Government and how they are seeking to use the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, as with their whole Brexit strategy, to sell out workers.

[…]

How can we trust a Prime Minister that stood up and said they would keep, and I quote, “the highest possible standards on workers' rights”, yet the leaks show that Government view such commitments as, and again I quote, “inappropriate” , and that negotiators had successfully resisted them being included in the legally binding part of the agreement with the EU?"

"It is the ambition of the Government to make the UK the best place to work and to grow a business"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom MP, said that the Government had no plans to lower standards on workers' rights.

 The Minister told MPs that the UK exceeded many EU standards for rights, and that the Government's Brexit deal gave Parliament an opportunity to continue this tradition.   

"It is the ambition of the Government to make the UK the best place to work and to grow a business.

[…]

Once we've left the European union the United Kingdom will not be represented in EU institutions, and nor will we have any direct influence on future EU legislation on workers' rights. Why then, should the Government and this Parliament seek to engineer circumstances where we're required to implement legislation over which we've had no say?

As we leave the European Union, we have the unique opportunity to enhance protections for the workforce and tailor them to best support UK workers."

Image: PA

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