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House of Commons Hansard
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14 December 2017
Volume 633
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12. What steps he is taking to ensure that rights, entitlements, protections and standards in EU law are maintained in the UK after it leaves the EU. [902940]

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18. What steps he is taking to ensure that rights, entitlements, protections and standards in EU law are maintained in the UK after it leaves the EU. [902949]

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The UK has a proud record of protecting rights. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill aims to maximise certainty for individuals and businesses about their legal rights and obligations as we leave the EU, to provide the basis for a smooth and orderly exit. The Bill will ensure that the laws and rules that we have now will so far as possible continue to apply as they did before exit.

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The Prime Minister has said that full regulatory alignment with the Republic of Ireland is part of the deal that she negotiated last week. Can the Minister give an absolute guarantee to the electrical engineers in my constituency that product safety and workplace practices will be guaranteed after we have left the EU?

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There are a great range of rights for which we do not rely on the European Union to meet the standards that we do. However, trade deals are always founded on WTO principles, and the WTO includes a wide range of measures in relation to technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary protections, and other matters.

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The charter of fundamental rights has been a valuable and accessible instrument in protecting human rights. Does the Minister agree with Liberty, Amnesty International and the Public Law Project that

“Banishing the Charter from the UK because we have other legal sources of rights would be like banning hammers because spanners can also strike nails”?

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Not incorporating the charter should not affect the substantive rights that individuals already benefit from in the UK, as the charter was never the source of those rights. Those EU fundamental rights are, in any case, applicable only within the scope of EU law. The Government have now published their analysis of the charter, which clearly sets out how each substantive right that was reaffirmed in the charter will be reflected in the domestic law of the UK.