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 Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:53 pm, 6th March 2019

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for the compliment that she paid me. I would reflect on the facts. She mentioned that introducing the minimum wage was a fight. This House is used to having fights and campaigns. The purpose of this Chamber is to have crusades that are successful. She will know that, far from that innovation having been rescinded, it was a Conservative Government who introduced the national living wage, which was the biggest pay increase for low-paid workers in 20 years. She should take confidence in that.

The right hon. Lady refers to drawing these protections from the European Union. Once we leave the European Union, the basis for a framework of workers’ rights will obviously not be there, and the alternative is that there would simply be no reference to what is happening in the European Union; that would be the default. We are responding to some helpful suggestions from the right hon. Lady’s colleagues that this House should keep a close eye on what is happening in the rest of Europe and that there should be an ability for the House to act on that. That is a good idea. I cannot say that it was my idea originally—it was brought to my attention—but when we recognise a good idea, I think we should back it.