Raab's past pronouncements send a troubling message about the kind of Brexit he’ll be bringing home from Brussels’ negotiating roomsby Sian Norris / July 9, 2018 / Leave a comment
After David Davis’ shock-not-so-shocking resignation, committed Brexiteer and Vote Leave campaigner Dominic Raab has been promoted to the role of Brexit Secretary.
In charge of the Department for Exiting The European Union, Raab—alongside the PM’s personal Brexit advisor, Olly Robbins—will be negotiating the UK’s departure from the EU which is set to happen in 263 days.
The appointment of the MP for Esher and Walton has caused something of a stir—not least for comments he made in 2011 about the “obnoxious bigotry” of feminists. In an op-ed for PoliticsHome, he claimed that the “flagrant discrimination” against men in society was ignored.
The views of the Brexit Secretary on women and feminism matter—not least because they tell us something about the kind of Brexit he might pursue for the UK, and whose rights could be under threat.
The “burden” of employment regulation
Alongside his attack on feminism, 2011 saw the publication of Raab’s report, Escaping the Straitjacket.
In it, he criticised the “burden of employment regulation” and recommended excluding start-ups and small businesses from the National Minimum Wage for those workers under the age of 21.
Raab also advocated the introduction of no-fault dismissal, and recommended we abolish the Agency Workers Regulations and Working Time Regulations.
It’s the latter two that are of specific interest when it comes to Brexit.
Along with most of the improvements to women’s and workers’ legal rights over the last forty years, these two regulations are underpinned by EU law.
The threat to worker’s rights
When Raab wrote his report in 2011, Brexit was not particularly on the agenda, and any moves to repeal EU workers’ rights directives were—at best—speculative.
But 2018 is a very different world, and such regulations could soon easily be removed from the UK’s legislature.
Raab’s 2011 recommendations to ditch workers’ rights send a warning to the kind of Brexit his department wants to deliver.
When we leave the EU, both the Agency Workers Regulations and Working Time Regulations will be adopted into UK law—along with all other EU laws.
However, in the terms of the recently-voted for EU Withdrawal Bill, ministers will have wide-ranging ‘Henry VIII’ powers that allow them to amend or repeal laws without a parliamentary vote.
In other words, these powers give…