Scotland politics

MSP ejected from chamber in row over union bill

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Media captionA Scottish Labour MSP is thrown out of Scottish Parliament chamber in a row over trade union rights

A Labour MSP was ejected from the Holyrood chamber while trying to complain about a ruling the presiding officer made on the Trade Union Bill.

MSPs were debating the Westminster bill during topical questions, after Tricia Marwick rejected a bid by government ministers to block it.

After James Kelly refused orders to sit down, the presiding officer had him escorted from the chamber.

A number of other Labour MSPs raised points of order to protest.

The issue was being debated at topical questions after Ms Marwick rejected a bid by government ministers to lodge a legislative consent motion against the Trade Union Bill.

Both Labour and the SNP are opposed to the Westminster bill, and fair work secretary Roseanna Cunningham has now sent a memorandum on the matter for consideration by the further powers committee.

She said it was "essential that the Scottish Parliament is able to express its opposition" to the "poorly thought out piece of legislation", which seeks to curb the powers of unions.

At the end of topical questions, Mr Kelly said he wanted to raise a point of order, asking if the legal advice the presiding officer had been given on the matter was open to challenge.

Image caption Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick had Mr Kelly escorted from the chamber

When Ms Marwick told him to get to the point, he replied that he could only do so if she would stop "interrupting" him.

The presiding officer then repeatedly ordered him to sit down, and he repeatedly refused. She asked him repeatedly to "desist and to apologise", and he refused.

Ms Marwick then had the Rutherglen MSP escorted from the chamber, and had him barred from participating for the rest of the day and the following day.

A series of Labour MSPs including Richard Simpson, Neil Bibby and Neil Findlay then raised points of order of their own in protest.

Ms Marwick said Mr Kelly had not come to his point of order or explained what it was.

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