European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 3:00 pm, 12th March 2019

It is clear that this Government delayed the vote from 11 December, then were found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to release legal information, then broke the record for losing a vote in Parliament, and now have come back to the scene of previous disasters with exactly the same proposal, and I earnestly hope the House tonight rejects the agreement that the Prime Minister has brought to us.

The Prime Minister has also attempted to convince Labour Members of this House about an equally empty promise on workers’ rights. She said last week in her speech in Grimsby that being aligned with the European Union on workers’ rights would mean that if it lowered its standards, we would have to lower ours. It is simply not true. European Union standards are a floor, not a ceiling: if the EU chose—I hope it never would—to reduce those minimum standards, that would not compel the UK to lower its standards. It is important to clarify that point because I am sure the Prime Minister had no intention of misleading anyone when she made it. However, being aligned to those standards means that if the minimum improved the UK would be compelled to improve, and indeed I would want us to go much further than the EU on many workers’ rights.