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EU-derived Employment Rights

Volume 618: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2016

8. What steps he is taking to ensure that all EU-derived employment rights will be protected after the UK leaves the EU. (907824)

The Prime Minister has made it clear that the Government will not, as a consequence of our withdrawal, allow any erosion of rights in the workplace, whether those rights derive from EU or UK law. She has further made it clear that the Government are determined to deliver an economy that works for everyone, and fundamental to that is the preservation of existing workers’ rights.

Is it not the fact that our EU-derived employment rights are upheld not by legislation but because they are enforced by the relevant European courts? Given that progress on a British Bill of Rights has been patchy at best, what will guarantee those rights after we leave?

Such rights will be upheld by British courts after we leave the European Union. The UK enjoys record employment at the same time as employment rights that exceed what is required by EU law in the important areas of maternity leave, parental leave and statutory annual leave.

Given the sorry history of Brexit broken promises, does the Minister understand the widespread cynicism expressed about the idea that rights will be protected post-Brexit, including on a continuing basis? Does she agree with the Brexit promise-breaker par excellence, the Foreign Secretary, that these crucial rights are back-breaking?

The hon. Gentleman prejudges the situation by saying that we have had a chance to break Brexit promises before we have even started the negotiations. The Prime Minister could not have been clearer—she has been supported in this at the Dispatch Box by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union—that workers’ rights will be protected and possibly even enhanced.

The hon. Gentleman bears a striking resemblance to an exploding volcano. Let us hear the feller.

As always, I am very reasoned, Mr Speaker, but really, the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey) was talking absolute rubbish just then, which is not unusual. Does the Minister agree with the democratic principle that the Government of the day will decide on employment rights? Is that not what we want—employment rights decided in this House, not in Europe?

This House will decide on employment rights, but it is important to remind my hon. Friend that during the lifetime of this Government, the Prime Minister could not have been clearer that workers’ rights will be protected after Britain leaves the European Union.