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Scrap EU consumer and worker protections now Brexit is completed, leading Tory says

Safeguards over data, pay and conditions, GM foods, hedge funds and disposal of old vehicles should all be binned, Daniel Hannan says

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 06 January 2021 16:17 GMT
Boris Johnson announces historic Brexit trade deal with EU

A leading Tory credited with inspiring Brexit has urged Boris Johnson to cull a raft of EU consumer and worker protections, now the UK has the freedom to act.

Safeguards for the use of data, pay and conditions, GM foods, hedge funds, dangerous chemicals and the disposal of environmentally-damaging vehicles should all be binned, Daniel Hannan said.

“Change is coming. To succeed outside the EU, we need to be fitter, leaner and more globally engaged,” said the former MEP, who has just been made a Conservative peer.

The call comes after the prime minister vowed to start breaking free from EU rules, now the post-Brexit transition period has is over, saying “we have nothing to fear”.

Under the trade agreement he signed, Brussels has the power to inflict wide-ranging tariffs or other sanctions on the UK if it breaches the so-called ‘level playing field’.

Nevertheless, Mr Hannon, in a website article, called for the scrapping of:

* the Temporary Workers’ Directive – which guarantees agency staff receive equal pay and conditions with employees in the same business.

* the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – that gives individuals control over their personal data and limits its transfer to other countries.

* the ban on products made from genetically modified (GM) crops – potentially allowing US food derived that way into the UK, as part of a future trade deal.

* the REACH Directive – to outlaw chemicals linked to health problems including cancer, thyroid disease, hormone disruption and slow development.

* the End of Life Vehicles Directive – to achieve environmentally-friendly dismantling and recycling, with targets for the reuse of vehicles and their components.

* the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) – introduced to regulate hedge funds and private equity following the 2008 financial crash.

* the ‘Droit de suite’ rules – that pay artists a fee on the resale of their works of art, instead of the American ‘first-sale doctrine’ that removes rights from subsequent sales.

* “chunks of” the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) – the legal framework to harmonise regulation of securities markets and trading venues.

Mr Hannan is widely seen as an intellectual driving force from the 1990s for what became as Brexit, pushing for a clean break from the EU as a campaigner and then a Euro-MP.

In the article, for the conservativehome website, he argued that – in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – everything possible must be done to “stimulate growth”.

That included ripping up “regulatory barriers”, targeting “everything from planning restrictions that inflate the cost of housing, to staff ratio rules that give us the most expensive childcare in Europe”.

“We have won the right to make different decisions outside the EU,” Mr Hannan wrote – attacking “Stone Age instincts” that instead back stronger state intervention, because of the pandemic.

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