Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
EU equalities law has already been overwhelmingly transposed into UK law via the Equality Act. As I said, Ministers must also comply with a public sector equality duty. On workers’ rights more broadly, the Prime Minister was clear in her Lancaster House speech, which she made some time ago, that one of our key priorities will be to protect and maintain them.
As the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, may I say how heartening it is to see seven Ministers present to respond to Women and Equalities questions, which shows the importance that the Government attach to these issues?
Ministers have been consistent and clear that their policy objective with the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is for things to stay the same after we leave the EU, with our having time to debate policy changes after that point. It is clear, however, that the removal of the charter of fundamental rights in itself creates a significant change in the underpinning of equality rights. Will my right hon. Friend meet me to discuss how we can avoid that unintended consequence?
The right hon. Lady should take it as a compliment that seven Ministers are required to cope with her.
As my right hon. Friend Mrs Miller points out, the Government are committed to this agenda, which is why so many Ministers are prepared to answer questions this morning. She raises an important point. I have been very clear that there will be no backsliding on our equalities agenda and law as we leave the EU. I know that my right hon. Friend has a meeting with the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my hon. Friend Dominic Raab next week. That will be an important time to discuss how we can make sure that there will be no backsliding.
Very unusually, I had not heard Mr Skinner, but I have now.
Many protections in EU law, especially equality rights, have already been written into UK law. Does the Minister therefore agree that our leaving the EU should not cause any detrimental impact on or removal of the rights and equalities that we currently enjoy, and will merely present us with the opportunity to further improve the law wherever we in the UK see fit to do so?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have been one of those countries around the world that has constantly stood up for human rights and that has been credible because of our human rights record and our legal framework. We are determined that there will be no backsliding. I have no doubt that this Government, and future Governments, will want to continue to make progress.