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House of Commons Hansard
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Dynamic Alignment with EU
28 February 2019
Volume 655

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5. If he will hold discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of seeking changes to the political declaration to provide for dynamic alignment with the EU on (a) workers’ rights, (b) consumer rights and (c) environmental protections. [909491]

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The UK has a tradition of exceeding EU standards, so we do not need to follow EU rules to continue to lead the way. It is a matter for Parliament to decide, and the Prime Minister has signalled her intent to give Parliament more control on these issues.

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The Secretary of State needs to stop playing games on this, because he knows that even if commitments on workers’ rights and other rights are put into primary legislation, once we leave the EU they can be overturned by a future Tory Government, and for years we have heard from those on the Conservative Benches about their aspirations to deregulate the labour market and make it easier to sack people. The single market is the only way of having a binding guarantee on workers’ rights; will the Secretary of State accept that?

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I think the person playing games, with respect, is the hon. Lady, who is ignoring the fact that in a number of areas we exceed the European standards. For example, on maternity leave the UK offers 52 weeks, 39 weeks of which are paid, whereas under the pregnant workers directive just 14 weeks are paid. So I do not accept the paucity of the hon. Lady’s ambition: the UK should be looking to go beyond that and provide better workers’ rights than she seems to be seeking.