Ruth was not called to speak in the Trade Bill debate (19th January). Had she been called this is what she would have said:
The time limits in this debate prevents me addressing all the issues my constituents have asked me to address; human rights, o the environment, food standards, on our NHS and care services but I concur with the remarks of colleagues on these issues
I’m going to focus on Scrutiny and on Rights at Work
By opposing the amendments that address parliamentary scrutiny today the Government is removing control from this House, we who are elected to work on behalf of our constituents.
The irony is, is that Trade Deals had more democratic oversight. when we were an EU members , as our elected MEPs debated and voted on them.
The Government should enable Parliament to set clear and definable objectives at the start, the right to be kept up to date through negotiations, then the right to vote to approve or reject these trade deals.
This is what EU member states, the US, and Japan do, to name a few equivalent nations.
As the elected representatives of our constituents, we need to be able to scrutinise, examine and vote on trade bills- Because trade impacts so much of our lives and our economy
Furthermore, Loss of scrutiny too often means loss of transparency
MPs, business representative, concerned citizen and consumers should be able to find out what is being discussed before deals are signed
And not have to wait until the impact is seen on the ground."
I am concerned about the potential winding back of the fundamental rights of hard- working people which have been in place for over 20 years.
We know the Government has its sights on reducing our Rights at Work
I understand at the BEIS select committee this morning the Secretary of State confirmed that the working time directive, the right for workers to have breaks ,and for overtime to be included in holiday pay were being reviewed
This could lead to a bonfire of rights for hard-working people.
I fear the provisions in the most recent EU-UK trade bill are not strong enough to protect workers rights in the UK- the EU could only challenge this watering down of our rights if they could show a ‘‘demonstrable impact on trade with the EU.’’
And on the topic of workers rights - it is a two way street- I am concerned that in pursuit of trade deals our government will be too willing to enter into deals with countries who have weak workers rights, who make it impossible independent trade unions to operate and who ignore basic health and safety requirements – surely also a Human Rights issue.
So to conclude the amendments we’re voting on today allow us to put our values at the centre of our approach to trade; a strong condemnation of human rights abuses, clear protections for our environment our food standards and so many rights that UK citizens have come to value with a clear role for Parliament to oversee and scrutinise trade deals which play a huge role in the everyday life of the people we represent.