Grimsby MP Melanie Onn has been drafted in to meet Cabinet ministers over her plan to enshrine EU rules on workers’ rights in British law after Brexit, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.
The talks could pave the way for some Labour MPs to support Theresa May’s Brexit deal when she brings it back to the Commons on 14 February, as concerns over protections for workers have been a sticking point for many in the party.
As the 29 March exit date looms, just a handful of extra votes from opposition MPs could tip the balance for the Government's struggling deal.
Today, Number 10 confirmed that they were reaching out to MPs from all parties following the latest round of Brexit votes and said Ms Onn’s proposals “would be the type of thing we would be happy to engage on”.
The Labour frontbencher later revealed to The Yorkshire Post that she had held meetings with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Business Secretary Greg Clark.
“It was positive,” she said.
Ms Onn first set out her plans in a 2017 bill, which she described at the time as a way to “protect in the strongest form of UK legislation all workers’ rights which are derived from the European Union”.
And during Tuesday’s Brexit debate in the Commons, Ms Onn rounded on the Prime Minister, calling on her to reconsider the legislation and demanding a meeting.
She said Mrs May had “repeatedly referred to protecting workers rights post-Brexit,” and asked: “Can I take her back to 2017 and my bill that was specifically about protecting workers’ rights when we leave the EU on the 29 March.”
“Can I ask her why it wasn’t adopted then and if she is so committed to it, will she meet with me to discuss the elements of that bill that she is prepared to adopt going forward?”
The Prime Minister replied: “We are looking at ways that we can give that assurance in relation to workers rights and as I said we are looking at where legislation would be appropriate and where legislation would be necessary.
“And I am happy to meet with her and go through this issue.”