European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:51 pm on 29th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 1:51 pm, 29th January 2019

No. I have said to the hon. Lady that I am going to make progress.

I am not prepared to stand still and put at risk either the Brexit that the people of this country voted for or the economic success they have worked so hard to secure. After this House gave its verdict on the withdrawal agreement, I stood at this Dispatch Box and pledged to work with the House to determine what steps to take next, and in the two weeks since, I have done just that. [Interruption.] Labour Front Benchers say that I have not done that. Actually, the only people I have not been able to talk to about this are the Labour party’s Front Benchers, because they decided not to come.

I have listened to the House, met MPs from all parties, and spoken with and listened to Members of the European Parliament, Heads of the devolved Administrations, senior trade unionists and the leaders of Britain’s biggest businesses. From those conversations, it is obvious that three key changes are needed.

First, we must be more flexible, open and inclusive in how we engage this House in our approach to negotiating our future partnership with the European Union. Secondly, we must and will embed the strongest possible protections for workers’ rights and the environment. The Government will not allow the UK leaving the EU to result in any lowering of standards in relation to employment, environmental protection or health and safety. Furthermore, we will ensure that, after exit day, the House has the opportunity to consider any measure approved by EU institutions that strengthens any of those protections. As I have set out before, we will consider legislation where necessary to ensure that those commitments are binding. To that end, in the coming days we will have further talks with the trade unions and MPs across the House to flesh out exactly how we can ensure that their concerns on those fronts are met. My message to Britain’s workers, in factories, offices, warehouses and right across our country, is that you can rest assured that the Government will deliver for you.