European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:18 pm on 7th September 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) 12:18 pm, 7th September 2017

Following on from the point made by Mr Grieve, the Secretary of State has asked for concrete examples of rights that will be lost to UK citizens as a result of the Act, so I would like to give him one and ask for his undertaking that he will amend the Act to make sure that this right will not be lost.

Earlier this summer, a man called John Walker relied on EU equality law to bring his successful challenge to a loophole in UK law whereby employers could refuse to pay same-sex partners the same pension benefits as those paid to heterosexual couples if the funds were paid in before December 2005. The Supreme Court—our Supreme Court, not the European Court of Justice—agreed that there was a loophole in UK law that was a violation of the general principles of non-discrimination in EU law. Mr Walker was able to use his right of action under the general principles of EU law to close that loophole, so that he and his husband could enjoy the same rights as a heterosexual couple. That would not be possible under this Bill, because, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman said—