I recall, as an MP, taking a delegation of miners’ leaders to Brussels to argue for jobs and investment, but we were blocked by the state aid rules that the European Commission enforced on us under a Labour Government. That is why Harworth colliery in my constituency closed.
I welcome the Secretary of State’s openness in his statement—both to amendments from Labour Front Benchers over the next few days, if there are precise amendments and, if they are not agreed, to the ability to table amendments to the withdrawal Bill that can be voted on by Parliament.
I negotiated the derogation, under the Labour Government, for one section of workers from the Work at Height Regulations 2005 because of the way in which the Commission framed the legislation. When it comes to health and safety, will there be automatic harmonisation—in other words, we accept everything that comes, regardless of its suitability to specific industries and groups of workers? When it comes to health and safety and sometimes environmental standards, that has been a fundamental issue, and it would be one if we had direct harmonisation.