Britain’s leading equality organisation, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has warned the government that its Brexit plans reflect a lack of ambition for equality and human rights standards.
Arguing that the vision for the future should not be narrowly economic, the Commission has published a five-point plan setting out how Britain can strengthen its equality and human rights, post Brexit.
The plan includes:
- protecting parliamentary sovereignty over the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework
- retaining the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework on leaving the European Union
- ensuring the UK is a global leader on equality and human rights
- protecting the UK’s equality and human rights infrastructure
- promoting the UK as an open and fair place to live and do business
In terms of practical steps that the government can take to create a fairer Britain, the action plan proposes:
- ruling out the use of so-called 'Henry VIII' powers to repeal or amend equality and human rights laws without Parliament’s approval
- bringing into law every part of the Equality Act 2010 not yet implemented
- introducing a constitutional right to equality that every law and government action can be tested against
- that every UK and devolved government trade deal must contain a human rights and democracy clause to help advance equality and human rights
- ensuring equality organisations relying on EU funding, such as disabled people’s organisations, can keep running
- enshrining all UN human rights treaties, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, into UK and devolved government law and producing an action plan explaining how UN recommendations will be implemented.
The Commission suggests that the plan it has launched would, if implemented, help the government take the necessary steps to correct injustices and tackle unfairness and create a country that works for everyone.
Neil Todd, of Thompsons Solicitors, said “The five-point plan from the Equality and Rights Commission is very welcome and follows Melanie Onn MP’s bill to protect workers’ rights after Brexit which was blocked by Conservative MPs.
The fear is that many Tories who have spent the last 6 years implementing measures which reduce worker rights have very little appetite to fight for this in earnest when the negotiations on leaving the EU begin.”
To read the five-point plan in full, go to: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/healing-divisions-positive-vision-equality-and-human-rights-britain