The Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) in their new report, Ensuring Strong Equalities Legislation After EU Exit, conclude that the government is missing opportunities to turn equality intention into legislation. The WEC relied extensively on oral evidence given by OxHRH Director, Sandra Fredman and drew on the written submission made by Professor Fredman, Professor Anne Davies (University of Oxford); Professor Mark Freedland (Oxford University); Professor Judy Fudge (University of Kent) and Dr Meghan Campbell, Deputy-Director of the OxHRH (University of Birmingham).
Committee Chair Maria Miller said:
“I welcome the Government’s assurance that it that it shares the Committee’s goal of ensuring there is no erosion of equality rights and protections after the UK leaves the EU.
However, it is disappointing that the Government is not taking opportunities to turn its policy intentions into legislative commitments.
In its report on equality and the EU exit, the Committee set out a number of clear, practical options for ensuring that maintenance of current levels of protection is explicit in law, but the Government has not engaged with these suggestions.
Neither has the Government set out a clear rationale as to why the rights in the Equality Act 2010 cannot be given a similar level of protection to those in the Human Rights Act.
Both Acts set out schemes of individual rights protection, and the Government response has not given compelling reasons for not incorporating the equality rights in EU withdrawal legislation.
I welcome the news that the GEO and DExEU are working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on equalities issues and the exit process.
We look forward to hearing more about these discussions, and about the work and priorities of the cross-government working group on equality-related issues.”