Is my hon. Friend aware that my constituency has the lowest level of unemployment in the United Kingdom? Many of those people are part-time workers. The best employment protection that they can have is for their jobs to be protected. Will my hon. Friend give the House a commitment that her Department, will continue to scrutinise European Community directives and ensure that it uses its veto, where necessary, to protect the jobs of part-time and full-time workers in this country?
I am happy to guarantee to my hon. Friend that we will do all that we can to protect part-time jobs and part-time job opportunities when they are threatened by kind-hearted but deeply economically misguided proposals for the further imposition of legislation.
Does the Minister not know that, as a result of recent decisions in European courts, part-timers in Britain are already protected against unfair dismissal and redundancy? Will the Government now make that clear, if not by answering my letters to that effect, by introducing legislation in the next Session, so that we comply with European law and get rid of that discrimination?
The Government always seek to comply with any directive to which we have signed up. That will continue to be our position. We will also continue to answer all the letters that the hon. and learned Member sends to our Department. Not one letter has gone unanswered. Perhaps he would like assistance in understanding the answers.