European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 1:05 pm, 7th September 2017

I am going to press on.

Let me turn from parliamentary involvement to the protection of rights. Many rights and protections derived from the EU are protected in delegated legislation under the European Communities Act 1972. Because they are underpinned by EU provisions, they have enjoyed enhanced protection—44 years’ worth. They include some very important rights: the working time rights of people at work; the rights of part-time and fixed-term workers; the transfer of undertakings provision, which affects everybody who is at work if their company is taken over, so that their contracts are preserved, which is something we all believe in; and all health and safety provisions have been handled by delegated legislation under the 1972 Act, too. It did not matter that it was just delegated legislation, because they had enhanced protection because of the 1972 Act and our membership of the EU. The same is equally true of important environmental rights and protections for consumers. Under this Bill, the Secretary of State says they survive, and I accept that, and he does have a commitment to rights at work, but they do not survive with their enhanced status; they survive only in delegated form. From the date of this Bill, they are amendable by delegated legislation. All of those rights at work, environmental provisions and consumer rights are unprotected from delegated legislation.