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Theresa May in Grimsby: She might as well have said, “There isn’t even this much truth in what I’m saying about your rights.”

Cabinet ministers – and the prime minister above all – have an obligation to be truthful. It’s one of the seven principles of public life enshrined in the Ministerial Code – and one that Theresa May broke flagrantly in her speech on Brexit in Grimsby the other day.

She was trying to claim that her deal means the rights of employees will be protected – more than they would be if the UK remains in the European Union. This is not true.

She said: “We have … committed to protecting the rights and standards currently set at the EU level – from workers’ rights to environmental protections.

“And this week we have said that if the EU expands workers’ rights, we will debate those measures in Parliament and decide if we want to follow suit.

“But we will not tie ourselves in automatically to follow EU changes without Parliament having its say.

“That would mean weakening workers’ rights if the EU ever chose to do so. And it would not be taking back control. The UK has led the way in the EU, and we will lead the way outside it.

“Leaving with the deal means workers’ rights will be protected.”

“That would mean weakening workers’ rights if the EU ever chose to do so.” Oh, really?

Economist Jonathan Portes spotted the falsehood:

So did Steve Peers of the University of Essex:

She lied to us all.

She tried to tell us the EU could weaken workers’ rights in the UK when in fact it is her government that is more likely to do that.

There will be nothing to stop her from weakening employees’ rights, once the UK leaves the EU.

I wonder if any enterprising member of Parliament may be motivated to set the record straight – and to request an investigation into the prime minister’s breach of the code that all government ministers must observe, or resign.


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