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Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security) 5:15 pm, 8th January 2020

As this is my first appearance at the Dispatch Box this year, I would like to thank my constituents for re-electing me and send all hon. and right hon. Members my very best wishes for 2020.

I draw attention to my relevant entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests regarding my support from trade unions.

We fully accept that, following the general election, we will be leaving the European Union on 31 January, but winning a mandate for that exit, as the Government have, does not give Ministers a free pass to avoid any scrutiny. The Government should be held to account between elections as well as at elections, and that is what the Opposition propose to do. We will continue to make the case in the post-Brexit United Kingdom for jobs and livelihoods, for environmental safeguards, for consumer protections and for employment rights, as we have over recent years.

New clause 2 is about protecting vital workers’ rights, and subsection (1)(a) would ensure that the Government cannot introduce measures that would, in any way, have the effect of reducing the protections provided on the day the transition period ends. We believe this must go further.

Subsection (1)(b) confirms that the Government, after our exit from the EU, will ensure that workers’ rights in the United Kingdom are, as a minimum, at the level they are in other EU member states. We also insist that the Government are held to account in Parliament on those objectives. The Government must never be allowed to sell out the workers of this country, and we will not let them off the hook. We will stand with those to whom this Government and the Prime Minister have made promises.