Leaving the Eu: Protection for Workers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:53 pm on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Chair, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 1:53 pm, 6th March 2019

I actually whipped the minimum wage Bill through Committee on that occasion, so I well remember Conservative hostility to it.

What the Secretary of State is really promising today is future consultation and future opportunities for votes. Looking behind him, I do not see a great deal of commitment from those Benches to such measures. Why can he not go further? Why can he not agree to put a commitment into the withdrawal agreement and the treaty that the UK will never fall behind EU minimum standards on workers’ rights either now or in future? I know that he has mentioned parliamentary sovereignty and not binding future Parliaments but, historically, Governments have negotiated treaties and Parliaments have approved them and those treaties are binding on future Parliaments until they choose to withdraw from them. Why can we not have that sort of arrangement?