This week the Government’s European Union Withdrawal Bill entered the committee stages, giving MPs the opportunity to scrutinise and table amendments to the Government’s plan for Brexit.
Arguing for the retention of EU standards after Brexit, Geraint Davies said that the “point about the EU is that it is not possible to push standards below a minimum threshold, but it is possible to do so outside the EU. In the future, therefore, if we are out, they can go up and down; but if we are in, they can go only up.”
Challenging the Government’s Bill, Davies said, “I accept that there is no intention that the Bill takes away the rights and protections enshrined in EU law and that the Bill does not imply that they will be taken away. The problem is that the Bill enables future Governments to do so, and there is therefore a need to protect those fundamental rights and protections… Businesses will turn to the four weeks’ paid holiday, the 48 hours directive or anything else that will cut their costs, and the Government will be tempted to abolish those rights.”
Speaking after the debate, Davies said “I am deeply concerned that the Government will use Brexit as an opportunity to lower the current level of EU standards on multiple fronts, in par-ticular, workers’ rights, environmental standards and quality controls.
“In Swansea our clean beaches, air quality and protected natural areas are secured by EU envi-ronmental standards. As a member of the Environmental Audit Committee and author of the Clean Air Bill, I understand the importance the EU has played in cleaning up our air, beaches and streets over the last few decades.
“It would be a great shame if these standards were lost as a result of Brexit, and that is why I supported Labour amendments which called for the retention of these standards after Brexit.”