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Leaving the EU: Workers’ Rights and Fair Trade

Volume 629: debated on Thursday 12 October 2017

4. What steps he is taking to ensure that the principles of fair trade, workers’ rights and environmental protection are included in future trade agreements after the UK leaves the EU. (901073)

The UK has long supported the promotion of our values globally, including successfully supporting workers’ rights and environmental protections as a member of the EU, and the UK will continue to play a leading role on these as we leave the EU. We are committed to upholding the UK’s high standards; our prosperity benefits from us reinforcing these high standards, not abandoning them.

I am glad that the White Paper mentions respecting the role of Parliament, but to protect workers’ rights, fair trade and environmental rules, will the Minister now guarantee to transfer to this House the rights that our elected representatives in the European Parliament have to scrutinise, debate, amend and vote on trade agreements?

The Government have been absolutely clear on the importance of this House and this Parliament scrutinising trade agreements. There is an irony in the hon. Lady’s question. Only last month, she voted against the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which would write into domestic legislation 40 years of workers’ rights and environmental protection coming from Europe. She did not want to see that transfer. She even whipped her own side to vote against the Bill. Today, she is calling for us to introduce European procedures. I think her actions speak louder than her words.