31 August 2017
“Mr Verhofstadt’s role as Brexit co-ordinator is to act as a link between the European Parliament and the Commission. It is not his job to try and impose a position on MEPs.''
Responding to this afternoon’s appearance by European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt before the Parliament’s Employment Committee, Conservative MEP Syed Kamall, co-chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, said:
“Mr Verhofstadt’s role as Brexit co-ordinator is to act as a link between the European Parliament and the Commission. It is not his job to try and impose a position on MEPs.
“For him to suggest, with more than a week of negotiations still to take place, that sufficient progress will not have been made by October to allow talks to begin on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, is premature and way beyond his pay grade.
“Unless he has a crystal ball how can he predict the outcome of negotiations at which he is not even present?
“These are matters for the whole Parliament to debate and Mr Verhofstadt should not try to dictate the outcome.
“He needs to stop trying to do Michel Barnier’s job and stick to his own role as an honest broker.”
Conservative Employment Spokesman Anthea McIntyre told the committee that workers’ rights would be untouched by Brexit.
She pointed out that the UK had been well ahead of Brussels in introducing key legislation on equal pay, the living wage and protection from carcinogens.
Miss McIntyre said: “Nobody sees Brexit as an opportunity to scale down the rights and protections afforded to workers in our country. On the contrary, the United Kingdom has been a leading light on fairness and safety in the workplace and will remain so.
“Rather than trying to create problems where they do not exist, this parliament should be acknowledging that the UK has consistently led the way on workers’ rights and social legislation.
“Our health a safety standards are ahead of the rest of Europe and our record on industrial fatalities is the best of any country in the EU apart from Malta.”
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