Richmond Park News: 20 January 2023
RETAINED EU LAW BILL
On Wednesday, I spoke in a Parliamentary debate on the Retained EU Law Bill. If passed, this Bill would grant huge powers to Conservative Ministers to revoke or reform thousands of EU-derived laws without any Parliamentary oversight or consultation. EU-derived laws currently guarantee a host of worker’s rights such as holiday leave and maternity pay, as well covering key environmental protections and ensuring food quality and animal welfare standards.
I received around 300 emails from constituents in support of Amendment 36. This amendment would ensure that the Government produces a definitive list of legislation that would be impacted by this Bill and increase Parliamentary oversight. At present, we simply have no idea what this Bill covers. The Government’s dashboard has listed just over 2,400 laws. However, the National Archives in Kew have found serious omissions in this dashboard and the true total is thought to be around 4,000.
Furthermore, the Government has set an arbitrary deadline for all legislation to be reformed or revoked by the end of 2023. This creates an unnecessary cliff-edge and creates further uncertainty for businesses and households at the worst possible time. It is unrealistic for officials to trawl through 4,000 pieces of legislation – and enact replacement UK laws - in less than 12 months. I will continue to oppose this legislation as it passes through Parliament.
You can watch a clip of my speech here, or read a full transcript here.
MINIMUM SERVICE LEVELS DURING STRIKE ACTION
Many constituents have emailed me this week to express concern that the Government’s proposed ‘Minimum Service Levels’ legislation would restrict worker’s right to strike.
This Bill is another attempt by the Government to distract from their failure to avert strikes in the first place. Minimum service levels won’t avert disruption or help to solve staff shortages in the NHS. It does not contain any detail about what minimum service levels will be, while handing extraordinary powers to Government Ministers to change current legislation without proper scrutiny.
Furthermore, some key public services are currently unable to provide a ‘minimum service’ even outside of strike action. The closure of Mortlake and North Sheen stations over the Christmas period occurred on ‘non-strike days’ which this legislation does nothing to address.
The best way to avoid disruption is to prevent these strikes in the first place, which means the Government getting around the table with staff and employers to find a solution.
VISIT TO THE BANK OF ENGLAND
It was a pleasure to take part in a cross-party visit to the Bank of England yesterday. In recent months we have faced considerable economic instability following Liz Truss’ mini-budget and Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. In light of this, it was particularly important to hear how the Bank is working to deliver monetary and financial stability for the UK. We focussed specifically on the Bank’s involvement in ensuring the stability of the mortgage market, which I know will be of concern to many constituents.