Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 8:17 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 8:17 pm, 17th July 2017

The hon. and learned Lady is ably illustrating why we need a debate about this. Despite the fact that the EU charter of fundamental rights will not be part of domestic law, she thinks that those rights will, nevertheless, still be protected. Let us have a debate about how we are going to do that. That is my point. On the face of the Bill, it looks like these rights will be lost.

These rights are real. Just last week in the Supreme Court, a gentleman called John Walker was able to ensure equal pension rights for his husband thanks to EU law. That was a timely reminder of the value of EU law to our constituents. Those are important rights. What is more important than a married couple of two men or two women having the same pension rights as a straight couple? I personally find that very important, as I am sure do many other Members.

We cannot afford to fall behind the standard set by the European Union on human rights. But, on the face of it, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill seems to be about to do that. We must insist on parliamentary time to debate these issues properly. I call on the Government to get their act together, have the courage of their convictions and bring the business to the Floor of the House. We can then debate some of the issues that I, and other hon. Members, have mentioned in a full and frank fashion. The Government should do that, rather than running scared from the policies that they were so keen to espouse when they thought they were going to have a whopping majority. They are not so keen now.