European Union Citizenship

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:35 pm on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 4:35 pm, 7th March 2018

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that intervention. I have been campaigning on apprenticeships during my time in the House, and, as a former modern apprentice, I am glad that we are taking part in National Apprenticeship Week. However, the reality is that this Government have a poor record when it comes to paying young people. Young people are not included in the national living wage, and an apprentice can still, under the law, be paid as little as £3.50 an hour. I am absolutely in favour of ensuring that young people are paid appropriately, but that is not necessarily something for the European Union. I think responsibility for that lies at the door of the UK Government, who have a pretty woeful record on employment rights and pay for young people.

Mr Leslie talked about the importance of staying in the single market and the customs unions—I stress that I mean “the” customs union. I hope that his particular wing of the Labour party grows stronger and can convince his Front-Bench team of the importance of remaining in the single market and the customs union, because failure to do so will result in the sacrifice of 80,000 jobs in Scotland. I represent a constituency with fragile employment prospects. Unemployment in my constituency is double the UK average, which is one reason I am particularly furious that UK Government have just closed two of the three jobcentres in my constituency. Only last week, I was dealing with two companies that have announced the closure of stores in my constituency because they are going into administration. One reason for that were the fluctuations in the pound due to the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We need to be absolutely clear about the need to protect jobs. I agree with Jeremy Corbyn about the importance of a jobs-first Brexit, but the only way to achieve that is by ensuring that we stay in the single market and the customs union, so I very much hope that the hon. Member for Nottingham East manages to convince his Front-Bench colleagues.