Scotland politics

Kezia Dugdale backs SNP over bid to block Trade Union Bill

Trade Union Bill poster Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The Trade Union Bill would curb union powers and make it more difficult to call strikes

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has backed SNP ministers over a bid to block the Trade Union Bill from applying to Scotland.

SNP minister Roseanna Cunningham attempted to lodge a legislative consent memorandum to give Holyrood a say on the Westminster bill.

After Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick rejected the motion, Ms Dugdale wrote to her urging her to change her mind.

Ms Dugdale's intervention was "warmly welcomed" by the Unite union.

The lodging of a legislative consent memorandum, a motion normally used to give Westminster permission to legislate on devolved matters, would have effectively given the Scottish Parliament a veto on the Trade Union Bill applying north of the border.

Ms Cunningham said there was "clear opposition" in Scotland to the bill, but Ms Marwick ruled that it did not infringe on devolved matters.

'Wrong and unfair'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has campaigned alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at a rally in opposition to the bill in Glasgow.

Now Kezia Dugdale has voiced her opposition to the bill in a letter to Ms Marwick urging her to change her mind.

She said the "clearly expressed view of the vast majority of the democratically elected representatives in Holyrood" was that the bill is "wrong, unfair and must be opposed".

She added: "I think your ruling was wrong and would urge you to reassess the evidence and reach a different conclusion."

The Scottish government said it was looking at options for other ways to oppose the bill, which the UK government believes is necessary to end "endless" threats of industrial action.

The government wants to impose a minimum 50% turnout in strike ballots, with public sector strikes also requiring the backing of at least 40% of those eligible to vote.

Not all Scottish parties are opposed to the bill - Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said it was "clearly" a reserved matter and said Holyrood "should not be duplicating the work of the House of Commons".

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