May will fail on a fairer Britain post-Brexit without planning for women’s rights and protections now
Published 17 January 2017
Following today’s speech on the Government’s Brexit plans, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party said Theresa May would fail to meet her promise of a fairer Britain unless she moved immediately to secure women's working rights and protections as part of Brexit negotiations.
WE leader Sophie Walker voiced concerns about women’s rights following May’s announcement that the UK would no longer come under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and that the Government would convert EU law into British law. “The Prime Minister has been completely silent on how the Government intends to enforce and expand women’s rights, for example in terms of maternity discrimination laws, part-time workers’ rights and sexual harassment laws, which currently come under EU law,” she said.
Walker also demanded much clearer communication on tariff and customs deals given May’s plan to take the UK out of the single market. “We must acknowledge the impact of trade tariffs on the public purse, and on the money we have for public services on which women disproportionately rely,” she said. “May’s announcement on the single market will have huge repercussions for women and men in every industry in the UK and we need detail, not vague direction, with just weeks to go before Article 50 is triggered.”
Pointing out that the Prime Minister had made no specific mention of women’s needs and interests in her most comprehensive speech on Brexit plans to date,Walker said these must be set out as a priority if May was to meet her promise of creating a fairer Britain following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
“Theresa May cannot promise a fairer Britain if she doesn’t address the inequalities experienced by more than half the UK’s population - women,” said Walker. “The three ministers in charge of our Brexit plans are all men. We can only ensure that a post-Brexit Britain represents all British people if women are included at all levels of negotiations, and clear plans are set out to address gender inequalities in all areas of public life.”
Walker also addressed May’s statement that ‘Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come here from the EU. And that is what we will do.’
“It is certain that our current immigration system is not fit for purpose,” said Walker, “but public debate has fuelled hostility without offering up solutions. The Women’s Equality Party calls for an immigration system that sees women’s different needs, and has social justice at its heart. We must end the practice of detaining women fleeing sexual violence, conflict, and persecution, and pregnant women, and shut down Yarl’s Wood, where allegations of sexual violence have gone unanswered under this government.”
“Women’s needs in a post-Brexit Britain - whether they come from abroad seeking refuge, or are UK citizens seeking an equal chance - are different,” she added. “The Women’s Equality Party will work tirelessly until the end of the Brexit process to ensure the fairer Britain Theresa May has promised becomes a reality.”