Responding to claims that the government will no longer pursue its review into workers' rights, Richard Arthur, head of trade union law at social justice law firm Thompsons Solicitors, commented:

“While we are pleased to see that the sustained pressure of the trade union movement has forced the government to backtrack on its review of workers’ rights for the time being, the business secretary’s carefully crafted response is not to be believed for a moment.

“He talks of ‘not being interested in watering down employment rights’ and of the review ‘no longer happening within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)’. He will no doubt try to present any proposals as not involving an overall reduction in employment standards – according to his and government’s opinion.  

“But this comes from a co-author of ‘Britannia Unchained’. Even if the review is no longer taking place ‘in BEIS’, will he also confirm that it is not taking place in any other branch or corridor of government?

“Will he also confirm that he is not aware of any proposals under active consideration by his department or government for changes to individual employment rights following Brexit, including any changes to the 48-hour maximum working week, changes to the rules on rest breaks at work, removing overtime when calculating certain holiday pay entitlements and removing the requirement to log information on daily working hours?  

“When faced with a government that has made an almost daily habit of saying one thing and doing another, we don’t believe the Minister’s claims, and we are calling on the Prime Minister to act on his warm promises of enhancing workers’ rights at a time when the British public – including key workers on the front line - need them the most.”