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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

Greener UK has raised huge concerns, saying that

“environmental safeguards are absent from the new withdrawal agreement” and that the Government’s toothless Environment Bill

“provides neither an enforcement body with independence…
nor a commitment to non-regression in domestic law.”

All this is coming at a time when we face a climate crisis across the world, and it is simply unacceptable.

The Government are asking us to trust them on all these issues without, quite tellingly, setting out any detail or legislation today. The Prime Minister says that nobody in his Government wants to reduce rights or standards, but that is a remarkable statement, especially when looking at their track record. How can we trust them?—[Interruption.] Government Members can cheer all they like, but how can we trust a Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who made it clear that, for small businesses, she envisages

“no regulation whatsoever—no minimum wage, no maternity or paternity rights, no unfair dismissal rights, no pension rights”?—[Official Report, 10 May 2012;
Vol. 545, c. 209.]

How can we trust a Foreign Secretary who wrote a pamphlet called “Escaping the Straitjacket” that outlined his plans to cut workers’ rights and regulations? How can we trust a Prime Minister who said the UK should scrap the social chapter and claimed that the current

“weight of employment regulation is…
backbreaking”?

The answer is that we cannot trust them. If their intentions were to maintain current standards, why have they slashed every level playing field commitment in the withdrawal agreement?

We are about to make history and, in the final moments before we enter the Lobbies, MPs will consider the weight placed upon their shoulders. Is this deal right for their communities, industries and future generations? No, it is not. Agreeing this deal will not get Brexit done; instead, it will sell out our country and sell out our communities, leaving us open to an onslaught of deregulation and a reduction of rights that will put jobs at risk. That is something no Labour MP, nor any other MP worried about protecting their community, could ever support.