Express & Star

Mark Andrews: Zero-hour contracts, French passport control, and flag-waving at the Proms

Angela Rayner has given a 'cast-iron guarantee' that Labour would bring in a ban on zero-hours contract within the first 100 days of a new government.

Angela Rayner pledges to ban 'zero-hour' contracts

It makes for a great battlecry, a bit like 'getting rid of food banks'. But I suspect that legislating to ban people's jobs will prove a little more complicated and controversial than Miss Rayner thinks.

I don't profess any great expertise on this subject, the only person I know who worked one of these deals was a freelance court reporter, who specifically asked for it.

He wanted a more flexible arrangement so he could stand as a Green Party candidate in a general election. Standing on a manifesto of banning zero-hour contracts.

To be fair to him, he did see the funny side.

* * *


I have just returned from a break in Cannes, having superbly timed it to coincide with the only week of the year when the UK actually enjoyed a bit of warm weather.

Getting into France could scarcely have been easier. Within about an hour of hitting the asphalt at Nice, we were enjoying alfresco brunch off Rue d'Antibes.

Leaving was another matter though. Passports inspected at check-in, before being swiped for explosives at security. Then there was a 50-minute queue to have our passports checked for a second time. And then again for a third time, before boarding the plane, which was half an hour late. Almost three hours of queuing, for a two-hour flight.

I suppose we should praise the French authorities for their diligence. But don't you wish they were so thorough when it comes to people leaving their country in rubber dinghies?

* * *

And for those who say this is the price for Brexit, I would make two points. Firstly, if a few hours' queuing at the airport is the cost of freedom from the dead-hand of Brussels, then I think I can live with it.

And if such checks really are necessary now we are out of the EU, why did nobody bother on the outbound flight?

* * *

My little jaunt meant I missed Last Night of the Proms, which I understand had been gate-crashed by the EU-flag brigade.

That is one of the many things that baffles me about the pro-EU types. They keep telling us the EU is just a trade body and nothing to do with sovereignty or identity. So why do they go on television waving a great big EU flag about, then?