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Peter Davidson

GMB host Susanna Reid takes down Tory minister over fire and rehire record

A Tory minister was left red faced on Good Morning Britain earlier after Susanna Reid called him out over his record on fire and rehire amidst the P&O sackings.

Business minister Paul Scully was challenged by the host after the ferry company fired around 800 workers from around the UK and replaced them with cheaper agency staff.

During an interview on the hit ITV show Reid asked the Tory MP why he "scuppered a Commons Bill" by speaking for over 40 minutes ensuring it "ran out of time".

Scully said the Bill by Labour MP Barry Gardiner would have led to more job losses instead of stopping the fire and rehire culture in the UK.

Susanna Reid challenged Paul Scully on GMB today (ITV)

Reid said: "I just came across this article from one of the newspapers at the time.

"It said, 'ministers have scuppered a Commons Bill that would have stopped the practice of companies firing staff and then rehiring them on worse pay and conditions, saying that while they oppose such actions, legislation was the wrong way to respond. The decision prompted anger from opposition parties and unions with the TUC saying the government had chosen to side with bad bosses. One Minister spoke for more than 40 minutes in the Chamber ensuring the private member's Bill ran out of time and would not progress beyond its second reading'.

"The minister? Paul Scully. You're the person who spoke so long the legislation then ran out of time to be considered further."

Scully responded: "Two things. First of all, I could have spoken for five minutes that would have still run out of time on that Friday, but I'm afraid that it's the TUC that have written that.

"Clearly that's going to be a slanted agenda.

"I didn't speak anywhere near as long as Barry Gardiner, the proposer of the Bill. Barry Gardner himself said that it would not have banned fire and rehire, but even though that was the campaign he ran.

"What the Bill would have done, it would have actually meant that a lot of businesses that needed to restructure in a fair way because of the financial situation they would not have been able to do so as flexibly.

"So likely it would have led to more job losses at the end of the day."

Meanwhile, Scully warned P&O Ferries could face prosecution if they are considered to have broken the law over the sacking of 800 seafarers.

He told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "If they have flouted the notification law where they are supposed to tell the Secretary of State when they are going to make more than a hundred people redundant, then there are criminal sanctions involved in that, including an unlimited fine.

"We have reserved the right to approach the prosecuting authorities should that be the right thing to do."

Scully said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was reviewing all Government contracts and dealings with the company and its owners, DP World.

"They need to realise that the relationship between the companies and the Government has changed as a result of their absolutely callous (conduct)," he said.

Asked if that could include a £25 million subsidy to DP World to help develop London Gateway as a freeport, Mr Scully said: "We will look into all of these things as part of this."

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