David Davis has insisted Brexit will not lead to worse health and safety standards or plunge the UK into “a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction”.
Speaking today to an audience in Vienna, the Brexit secretary hit back at critics who claimed leaving the EU would lead to a lowering of regulatory standards.
Instead, Mr Davis insisted the UK’s plan for life outside of the EU is a “race to the top in global standards”.
“We will continue our track record of meeting high standards, after we leave the European Union,” said Mr Davis.
‘Safest in Europe’
“On safety at work, our industrial workers are the safest in Europe,” added Mr Davis. “The fatality incidence rate, as it is delicately known, is the lowest in Europe, thanks, not to EU legislation, but to British laws passed in the early and mid-70s.”
The Brexit secretary added Britain was one of the first member states to introduce the right to flexible working hours for parents and carers in 2003 and that plans are in the pipeline for a “new, independent body that would continue to uphold environmental standards”.
“Now, I know that for one reason or another there are some people who have sought to question that these are really our intentions,” he added.
‘Mad Max’ style future
“They fear that Brexit could lead to an Anglo-Saxon race to the bottom. With Britain plunged into a Mad-Max style world borrowed from dystopian fiction.
“These fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing, not our history, not our intentions, nor our national interest.
“Frankly, the competitive challenge we in the UK and the European Union will face from the rest of the world — where 90 percent of growth in markets will come from — will not be met by a reduction in standards,” said Mr Davis.
‘Not worth paper written on’
But Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said promises by Mr Davis to protect worker’s rights and environmental standards after Brexit “isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”.
“The truth is there are many in Theresa May’s government who want to use Brexit as an excuse to drive down standards and weaken fundamental rights,” commented Mr Starmer.
“Labour rejects this approach,” he added. “We want a close future relationship with the EU based on our values of equality. That includes maintain and extending rights, standards and protections.”
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