Workers’ rights from Europe: the impact of Brexit

The independent legal opinion, commissioned by the TUC from Michael Ford QC of Old Square Chambers, identifies the dangers of Britain leaving the EU for working people and their rights at work. It lists the rights that would be most at risk of being diluted or scrapped after Brexit, and it considers the mechanisms for disapplying EU workplace laws in the UK.

Michael Ford QC’s legal opinion states: “All the social rights in employment currently required by EU law would be potentially vulnerable”. He lists those rights that he believes are most at risk post-Brexit from a government with a deregulatory agenda. They include rights to properly-paid holidays, protections for agency workers, health and safety protections, and protections from some forms of employer discrimination – such as compensation rates, and protections for pregnant workers and older workers.

Download Workers’ rights from Europe: the impact of Brexit (pdf)

Rive Gauche: Six absurd things you probably didn’t know about the UK parliament

The Independent: “Britain is looked upon by the world as a beacon of democracy. And if you consider the amount of vitriol thrown back and forth on Twitter between the Corbynites and, well, everyone else, we take our politics pretty seriously.

But behind the veneer are some pretty ridiculous traditions that underpin our democratic system. If you thought our voting system of “first past the post” – the political equivalent to an Olympic 100m final – was absurd enough, you may be surprised to learn about some of the other special traditions that prop up British politics. Frankly, you might also be embarrassed.

We pick our laws out of a goldfish bowl

Private members bills are laws suggested by a private member of Parliament (an MP) that are not part of the Government’s planned programme of legislation. These bills are not listed by manifestos, and they rarely become law – which begs the question of why we bother with them in the first place.

The interesting part? Because there isn’t time to discuss every MP’s ideas for a new law, each year the MPs who are allowed to introduce a bill are picked out of a hat – and this year they were selected from a goldfish bowl in a sort of House of Commons lottery draw.

How it can be justified to pick an issue to be debated, that could in fact become an implemented law, in a Church fete-style lucky dip? We’ll never know.

We kidnap an MP every year

During the Queen’s Speech, it is customary for an MP to be “kidnapped” and “held hostage” at Buckingham Palace. This is so the reigning monarch has a bargaining tool in case anything happens to them during their time at the Houses of Parliament.

It’s a custom more suited to the 16th Century, when the monarchy and parliament actually had serious arguments about who was in charge, but it is still carried on today. Presumably the poor MP isn’t chained to a toilet cistern with a gag ball in their mouth, but we can only hope.

Read the rest – most interesting…