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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:27 pm on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 2:27 pm, 22nd October 2019

Indeed, the Northern Ireland peace process—the Good Friday agreement—is one of the most significant things that this House has ever done. We should understand the threat that the Bill brings.

I was speaking about workers’ rights, on which the Government want us to trust them. The provisions in the Bill will mean that the Government merely have to inform the House if they propose to diverge from EU standards. Am I correct in understanding that no notification, let alone a vote, would be required if the measure is currently contained in secondary legislation? The provisions fall way, way short of those in the Workers’ Rights (Maintenance of EU Standards) Bill introduced by my hon. Friend Melanie Onn, and the TUC concluded:

“The deal itself does not meet the TUC’s tests that any brexit outcome must protect jobs, rights, and peace in Northern Ireland. By moving away from a close economic relationship with the EU, the deal would be a disaster for working people’s jobs and livelihoods. The deal would not require”—[Interruption.]

I am surprised that Government Members do not want to hear what the TUC says about the deal. The TUC continued:

“The deal would not require government to maintain existing rights, would not require rights to keep pace with those across the EU, and would leave workers with a significantly reduced ability to enforce the rights they do have.”

The TUC concluded by saying:

“It would do nothing to improve employment rights in the UK, now or in future.”

The Government talk about maintaining world-class environmental standards, but actions speak louder than words, so can I ask the Prime Minister