British builders can still whip off their shirts when the sun comes out

Commission backs down on infamous "sunshine directive"

Conservative MEPs were today celebrating the success of their campaign to water down the controversial Optical Radiation Directive - the so-called "sunshine directive" - after the European Commission said it would withdraw its opposition to amendments approved by MEPs last week.

The Council and Commission wanted strict rules and blanket legislation which would have made employers across the EU legally responsible for the effects of sunlight on their staff.

But Conservative employment and social affairs spokesman Philip Bushill-Matthews MEP and his colleagues achieved a significant victory last week by persuading a majority of MEPs to support an amendment which would allow member states to apply the directive as they wish.

Labour MEPs fought against this key principle of subsidiarity but were outvoted. UKIP's MEPs voted against a Conservative amendment which would have removed sunlight from the directive altogether. Liberal Democrats supported the Conservative campaign.

The Commission now says that, as part of its proposed programme of deregulation, it will accept the Parliament's vote and allow member states flexibility in the way they respond to the directive.

Mr Bushill-Matthews said:

"This is a victory for common sense. It was clearly a badly thought-out law which would have caused bureaucratic, financial and legal nightmares for businesses.

"The European Parliament has set the agenda here and I'm pleased to see the Commission is responding as it should. Deregulation is an absolute priority for the European Union.

"I hope the Council will now show a similarly sensible approach and accept the Parliament's opinion.

"British builders can now strip off in the sunshine as they've always done."

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