European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
Seema Malhotra Excerpts
Tuesday 16th January 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Attorney General
Mr Leslie Hansard
16 Jan 2018, 1:41 p.m.

That is right, and my hon. Friend will also remember that, before becoming Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis) cited many of the rights in the charter in his own legal case against the then Home Secretary, who is now the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman took a case against her and cited many of the provisions in the charter; how strange it is that he now introduces a Bill that does not necessarily carry forward those provisions.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard
16 Jan 2018, 1:42 p.m.

My hon. Friend is making an excellent speech. Does he agree that the issue at hand is not whether those of us in this Chamber now might want to change the rights and protections we currently have, but the process by which those laws and rights could be changed and the ease and lack of accountability and transparency that could put them at risk in future?

Mr Leslie Hansard
16 Jan 2018, 1:43 p.m.

I can certainly imagine cases where our constituents, feeling the need to assert some of those rights in the charter in future, find themselves falling foul of the provision in clause 5 that says, all of a sudden, that the charter of fundamental rights is not part of domestic law on or after exit day. They enjoyed those rights hitherto; where would that situation leave them?

The Government, when being sued by the tobacco companies which did not like plain packaging and thought it was against their rights of expression, cited the right to public health in the charter of fundamental rights and managed to defeat those tobacco companies. The charter of fundamental rights proved important not just for our constituents, but for the Government themselves in upholding what was a good piece of public policy at the time.