Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Amendment 35

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 15th January 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Viscount Trenchard Viscount Trenchard Conservative 9:45 pm, 15th January 2020

That is my pleasure. Proportional representation has its place but it may not be applicable everywhere.

I am very surprised that the noble Lord has sought to require the Government to adopt his amendment seeking a level playing field with the EU on workers’ rights and environmental and consumer standards. Is he not aware that it was a manifesto commitment of the Conservative Party, to which all Conservative candidates signed up, that the Government would get a proper Brexit done and that we would leave the customs union and the single market? It is essential that we do that to have the flexibility we need to develop and maintain our own independent trade policy, and to negotiate free trade agreements with third countries.

The noble Lord’s amendment requires close alignment with the EU single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations. “Shared institutions” sounds to me as though we could still be regulated by EU regulators even after we had left. The EU will seek to export its regulatory framework and standards to us in return for providing market access. Dynamic alignment on workers’ and consumers’ rights would completely subjugate us to the EU, ruling us out as a potential trade partner for others and denying us the benefits and upside of Brexit. We know that the noble Lord does not want to leave the EU but surely he understands that, given that Brexit is going to happen anyway, we should make sure that we can play on a level playing field at the global level. That means freeing ourselves from EU strictures, such as the noble Lord’s amendment would make worse.