Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

Last week, a female professor of employment and labour law in Canada said in a lecture to UK students in Kent that equality laws hamper women’s progress at work. Professor Fudge believes employment legislation such as the introduction of flexible working patterns, aimed at improving how women are treated in the workplace, reinforce traditional male and female roles in the family and workplace.

The reality is that equality legislation has helped thousands of people ensure they receive equal rights, pay, are not discriminated against and are generally better protected within the workplace.

The introduction of the Equality Act in 2010 wasn’t designed just to help women in the workplace, but aimed to provide better protection for those discriminated against for having a disability, those who face race discrimination and many other things besides.

You can read more on Professor Fudge’s comments here.

We anticipated that David Cameron would deliver his speech on the European Union last week. It was postponed, however, due to the terrible Algerian hostage crisis and it is unclear when exactly it will be re scheduled, although William Hague said yesterday on the Marr show that it would happen possibly as early as this week. A final decision on the date of the delivery, it is believed, will be announced today (Monday).

However, embargoed extracts of the speech have been released to journalists already, and Downing Street decided it was too late for them to be retracted.

In the released extracts Cameron warns: “If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit.”

The British people cannot ‘drift towards an exit’, Britain is a member of the European Union and to drift away from it (and to put the responsibly on the British people for that happening) is completely inaccurate statement.

There is little agreement within the Coalition about the direction and next steps of the relationship. Dr Fox, for example, told BBC One’s Sunday Politics programme: “I think ultimately there has to be an in-out referendum because otherwise we’re going to have our politics in Britain constantly undermined by this debate and I think it’s very important that we settle one way or another the European argument for a generation.”

Meanwhile Business Secretary Vince Cable warned against a referendum. He said the EU needs to be reformed but threatening a referendum risks increasing economic uncertainty at a time of extreme fragility. You can read more on this here and here.

Maybe we will hear the speech in full this week and we can debate on the detail with more knowledge then, but the extracts we have seen so far should not come as a surprise to those of us who have been following the debate so far.