UKIP MEP Margot Parker, a member of the European Parliamentary committee which deals with woman’s rights and equality not only within the EU but also globally, has today addressed some of the concerns raised by the #faceherfuture campaign.
The campaign has been launched today, (Wednesday), by many women’s rights groups and organisations.
Part of the campaign is the desire to make sure Brexit will not negatively impact on woman’s rights but Margot said this was based on the false idea that all progress has been the result of the EU and European courts. Specifically, paid maternity leave and equal pay for equal work was mentioned.
She said: "The EU mandated right to maternity leave is a mere 14 weeks, whereas UK legislation is far more generous and grants 52 weeks. That was our choice as an independent nation and has nothing to do with the EU or its laws.
"When it comes to equal pay for equal work, which is an important issue which still needs fixing in the UK, the EU is neither the originator nor guarantor of any solutions. Within the EU institutions themselves, where one would expect to see this as a non-existent issue, women on average earn 16 per cent less than their male counterparts. No one is denying the need for us to fix this in the UK, but we do not need the EU to tell us how to do it."
She said some groups seemed to think there will be a grand 'bonfire of rights' post-Brexit. This was simply incorrect. It would be insane for any government to roll back some of the good ideas for expanded rights which have come out of the EU (and there have been some).
She added: "It is also disingenuous to suggest the UK would be unable to protect and advance rights without EU oversight. For example, the UK had rights to paid holidays for 35 years before we joined the EU. The EU may have expanded who had access to those rights in some cases, but there is nothing to indicate we would not have arrived in a similar place of our own accord.
"Post-Brexit we will finally have total control over our own destiny and who makes our laws – that is something everyone who is worried about the protection of rights should keep in mind. If a given government does something you do not like, you can fire them at the next election and put in place leaders who will legislate for your priorities.
"We did not have that ability as EU members The lack of faith shown by some in the British people’s ability to choose their own lawmakers, and the even deeper lack of faith in those lawmakers being able to do their job without unelected foreign oversight, is a very sad state of affairs.