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European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Part of Prime Minister’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 19th October 2019.

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Photo of Rebecca Long-Bailey Rebecca Long-Bailey Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 2:13 pm, 19th October 2019

I thank all Members of this House for their passionate contributions. I thank the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for sharing his mints with the shadow Front-Bench team earlier. However, that is where my joviality ends.

Today is a historic day. It is a day on which the fewer than 650 people sat here now will agonise over whether they are about to make the right choice for their communities, industries and future generations. Today, they ask themselves, “Is what is before us today truly a deal that protects and enhances our communities?” Sadly, the simple and irreconcilable truth is that it does not. As the shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I want to make it clear to the House that this deal, if agreed to, would be a disaster for this country. We must reject it.

On workers’ rights, we simply cannot trust what the Prime Minister is saying. The Government say that this deal protects workers, but instead of strengthening protections they have specifically changed the legally binding withdrawal agreement to remove any commitments on workers’ rights. It tells us something that no trade union in this country—not a single one—backs this deal. The TUC says that the deal

“would be a disaster for working people”.

Unison says that

“it would risk every workplace right and leave public services exposed and vulnerable.”

Unite says that

“by further diluting the legal protections for labour and environmental standards, the prime minister has made the laws that underpin workers’
rights and public safety extremely vulnerable in future trade deals.”

I could go on, but we should also look at the business case.