Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 21st November 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 3:00 pm, 21st November 2017

I am going to make some progress, because I have been speaking for over half an hour and Ministers will want to speak again to address schedule 1.

The substantive rights that individuals already benefit from in the UK when their data is processed will be retained under this Bill. As I have pointed out, the charter is not the source of rights contained within it; it was intended only to catalogue those that existed in EU law at that moment in time.

Finally, I want to address the late new clauses tabled: new clause 78, tabled by Tom Brake, and new clause 79. On the impact our departure from the EU might have on equalities legislation, I again reaffirm the commitment I made on day one in Committee to my right hon. Friend Mrs Miller, the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, when we discussed this issue at some length. I understand the intention behind this amendment and can reassure the right hon. Gentleman that there will be no reduction in the substantive equalities protections when we leave the EU. Equally, the right hon. Gentleman’s amendment presents some very real practical difficulties, not least his attempt effectively to copy and paste the procedural model used in the Human Rights Act and then put it into this Bill for the equalities purposes.

The Human Rights Act assesses compatibility according to an international instrument, the ECHR, which is not the same. There is not an equivalent that applies to the Equality Act, but I am more than happy to reaffirm the commitment I made to my right hon. Friend the Chair of the Select Committee that the Government will bring forward an amendment before Report stage that will require Ministers to make a statement before this House in the presentation of any Brexit-related primary or secondary legislation on whether and how it is consistent with the Equality Act. I hope that reassures the right hon. Gentleman that the Government are serious about addressing the issue he has rightly raised.

New clause 79 suggests a procedural device for incorporating certain EEA-related rules into UK law. This is entirely unnecessary given the wider snapshot of EU law this Bill will take at the point of exit.

I hope I have tackled, or at least have endeavoured to tackle—