With Covid raging across the country, important issues are sliding down the news agenda. So let’s talk about scrutiny: a thread. 1/
First up: freedom of movement (FoM). Less than a year ago, Labour leader @Keir_Starmer said he would ‘bring back, argue for, challenge’ the elimination of EU FoM. As made clear on #Marr, that position has now changed. 2/ mirror.co.uk/news/politics/…
Without an opposition ‘arguing for’ FoM, the Govt has carte blanche to make UK workers the least competitive in Europe. And, whether or not you think supporting FoM is an electable position (as internationalists, we do), restricting immigration will hurt our economy. 3/
Take a look at the care sector - already understaffed, there’s no provision for senior care workers/registered managers on the shortage occupation list (skilled roles we need migrants to fill), meaning they must meet points-based immigration criteria. 4/

This is an economic issue. Care staff are critical to frontline efforts against Covid. On top of poor pay in the sector, restrictive immigration policy damages the UK’s ability to provide the urgent care that’s needed and improve recruitment in this vital, underfunded area. 5/
Without an opposition advocating for FoM, sectors like this will lose out on huge amounts of talent from Europe. Our polling has shown more than half of Brits support FoM when they understand how it works for Britain. 6/

Next up: @Jacob_Rees_Mogg dissolving the Commons Brexit committee, blocking a planned inquiry into the agreement w/ televised evidence sessions & an authoritative report assessing the deal in detail. Got all that? 7/

Without a specific Commons committee monitoring implementation of the deal, we’re left without scrutiny on this four-years-in-the-making trade agreement. How does the Govt expect to improve on this thin-as-gruel deal w/o a rigorous analysis of its flaws? 8/
The problem with external scrutiny – from business groups and organisations such as ours – is that Tory ministers conveniently forget they’ve been briefed about potential issues once they start happening. Case in point: border disruption and Gove. 9/ theguardian.com/politics/2021/…
Third: workers’ rights, and the erosion of them by this Govt. If you haven’t already read this piece by @MoyerLee, we urge you to do so. With so many minds focused on Covid, the Govt may start dismantling protections behind the scenes. 10/

Under the current trade deal, the bar for proof of breaches of ‘Level Playing Field’ rules is too high to be consistently enforceable, leaving standards vulnerable. It is notoriously difficult to prove that any lowering of protections affects trade or investment. 11/
Again, scrutiny must be rigorous, not only from the opposition but from places like the (now dissolved) Commons Brexit committee. We cannot allow the Covid crisis – or the clean-up afterwards – to act as a smokescreen for weakening labour laws. 12/
The UK already has one of the lowest rates of statutory sick pay. If this right remains unchanged during the worst public health crisis for a generation, we dread to think what might be next on the cards. 13/
TL;DR – from FoM to workers’ rights, via the Commons Brexit committee, this Govt’s most controversial moves are sliding through unscrutinised thanks to Covid. We must keep digging beneath the headlines and hold these issues up to the light. Or we will all suffer. /ends

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More from @BestForBritain

6 Jan
In today's Future Relationship with the EU Committee, the future of financial services was of key concern. From @SamuelMarcLowe: "My view earlier in the year was that if there was a deal it would increase the likelihood of financial services equivalence being granted..." 1/
"But that doesn’t seem to be the case. I believe the EU will grant [equivalence] in areas where it is beneficial for it to, but otherwise it's not in the mood to grant access to the UK above what it usually grants to 3rd countries." @SamuelMarcLowe 2/
"My view is that in the long run the EU’s aim is to have all customer-facing financial operations targeted towards EU customers to be based in the EU. This is going to be a slow leakage of economic activity that would otherwise take place in the UK." @SamuelMarcLowe 3/
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
At today's Future Relationship with the European Union Committee - we're hearing from @CSBarnard24 that the deal has a slightly "alice in wonderland quality" about it - nothing really appears quite as it first looks. If you compare to what we had until 1 Jan, it falls short. 1/
For example, there's a statement that the dispute resolution mechanisms doesn’t apply, but if you plough on until the end you see that some chunks of the DSM are actually incorporated over non-regression provisions. @CSBarnard24 2/
From @SamuelMarcLowe: "the premise of this agreement [is] to remove tariffs & do v little to remove barriers to trade and services. If you’re prioritising the economic status quo and economic integration with Europe then of course this deal is going to disappoint you." 3/
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31 Dec 20
⭐️ What We Learned ⭐️

1: 2020, a thread. Like everyone, B4B faced countless curve-balls in 2020. Here are some things we learned, that helped us increase our influence in the toughest year we have lived through /
2: Act quickly: As Covid fears grew, we had a contingency plan ready by March 2, long before lockdown was a threat. By March 12, work from home was a thing, and on March 15 we closed the office completely /
3: Put the team first: In a crisis, you need the team more than ever. We got our staff from overseas back home early, trialled work-from-home early, put health (inc mental health) and working policies in place early, so everyone was clear what was happening /
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30 Dec 20
MPs are now debating the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill.

You can see what's happening as if you were in the House of Commons using the new annunciator website: now.parliament.uk

(We appreciate this is possibly for political geeks only)
SNP amendment defeated ayes 60 noes 362
The House of Commons has approved the programme motion for the EU (Future Relationship) bill - the debate will conclude at 2:30pm
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29 Dec 20
Our major new analysis of the EU-UK trade deal highlights ten areas that must be addressed urgently to deal with non-tariff trade barriers looming come January 1st. bestforbritain.org/2020tradereport
Although the Johnson deal is better than a WTO arrangement, it will still result in ‘considerably higher barriers’ to trade.
@DavidHenigUK identifies areas of concern ranging from regulatory challenges and data issues to membership of the Erasmus scheme and climate change.
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21 Dec 20
An extension to the current transition arrangements can be achieved by agreement w/ EU or as part of a phased deal implementation. Whatever the mechanism (& whether it's called extension, an implementation period or a deferment) we need extra time. Here's how that could work👇1/8
Firstly, the govt gave up our automatic right to an extension in June - & offering this is beyond Barnier’s remit - so it’d need to be signed off by the EU27 & wld need a legal opinion from European Court of Justice. 2/8
Secondly, the EU uses a legal basis for every treaty it strikes. For the current withdrawal agreement & transition period (which started when we left on 31 Jan 2020), the EU used Article 50. 3/8
Read 8 tweets

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