ANDREW NEIL has mocked Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party’s call for the European charter of fundamental rights into British law after the party once described it is as significant as the Beano.
The veteran BBC host tore into the shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, who has made the incorporation of the charter – which interprets EU law – one of the six tests he will apply when Labour decides whether to vote for the Great Repeal Bill.
The bill, which formally enacts Brexit, features a clause saying: “The charter of fundamental rights is not part of domestic law on or after exit day.”
In 2000, Labour’s former Europe Minister Keith Vaz said the then new charter would have no greater legal standing before European Union judges than a copy of children’s comic the Beano.
Discussing the charter on the BBC’s Daily Politics, Neil said: “The Labour Party says it wants to incorporate the European charter of fundamental rights into UK law, not the European Court based in Strasbourg.
“Yet, this was the charter which in power Labour said would have no more significance than the Beano and wouldn’t really involve Britain, and yet you now want to write it into UK law – why?”
Another of Labour’s former Europe ministers, Douglas Alexander, who was also appearing on the programme was left to defend the demands.
Mr Alexander said the charter had taken on a “greater modern significance” than when the comments were made in 2000.
He added: “For example, you’ve already had Philip Hammond, the influential Chancellor of the Exchequer, threatening a North Atlantic Singapore – employment rights would be reduced as a result.”
The Conservative’s former Europe minister David Jones said his party had reassured party there will be no “degradation” to workers’ rights as a result of leaving the EU.
He said it would be “unnecessary” to include the charter of fundamental rights as a result of Theresa May’s promises.
Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, received a chorus of applause when she announced the publication of the Great Repeal Bill.
Speaking to the Commons, Ms Leadsom said: “This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through parliament.
“It is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal.”
The 66-page document, which Ms Leadsom promised would respect the will of the people when untangling the UK from the EU, was officially published shortly before midday.
She added: “It means we will be able to exit the European Union with maximum certainty, continuity and control
“This is what the British people voted for and it is exactly what we will do.”