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Extent, commencement and short title

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 2:45 pm, 28th February 2019

I, too, thank the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston for tabling the amendment, because it gives me the opportunity to confirm that gender impact and gender equality are important issues that must be taken into account across Government policy. Of course, that applies to all protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

The UK has a long-standing tradition of ensuring that our rights and liberties are protected domestically and of fulfilling our international human rights obligations. The Government are committed to complying with their public sector equality duty under section 149 of the 2010 Act. Furthermore, the Government have been clear that all protections in and under the Equality Acts 2010 and 2006, and the equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, will continue to apply after we leave the EU. We will not renege on our strong equalities and workers’ rights commitments.

As such, we published two policy equality statements alongside the introduction of the Bill, one on immigration and one on the social security aspects of the Bill. Both of those considered the potential gender impacts of the Bill. However, as the Committee is aware, the Bill is a framework Bill, and its core focus is to end free movement. As set out in the policy equality statement on the immigration measures in the Bill, the resident population of EU nationals is estimated to be roughly half male and half female, as the hon. Lady said. As a consequence, we do not think that ending free movement will discriminate on the grounds of sex, and there is nothing further to suggest that it will have a particular impact based on gender. However, we cannot predict the volume and pattern of migration post EU exit, because the future arrangements that will replace free movement have not yet been finalised.