Scotland politics

Call to change Holyrood rules over 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 MSP Neil Findlay has lodged a motion calling for a change in parliamentary rules to let Holyrood oppose the Commons' Trade Union Bill.

SNP ministers had asked for a motion letting Holyrood block the bill north of the border but Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick rejected the move.

Labour asked Ms Marwick to change her mind, with one MSP ejected from the chamber while protesting.

A motion on the matter is also to go before the further powers committee.

Labour and the SNP have both stated opposition to the UK government's Trade Union Bill, which would clamp down on the powers of unions.

Minsters asked Ms Marwick to approve a legislative consent memorandum, which would have allowed Holyrood to block the Westminster bill from applying north of the border, claiming that it infringed on devolved matters.

Ms Marwick rejected this, siding with the UK government which asserts that the bill covers fully reserved matters.

Image caption James Kelly was ejected from the Holyrood chamber while trying to raise a point of order

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale wrote to the presiding officer urging her to change her mind, and fellow Labour representative James Kelly tried to raise a point of order on the matter before being ejected from the chamber for refusing to sit down.

Scotland's Fair work secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said it is "essential that the Scottish Parliament is able to express its opposition" to the "poorly thought-out piece of legislation".

Mr Findlay called for the SNP to unite with Labour in continuing to fight the bill.

He said: "We believe the presiding officer's interpretation of standing orders is wrong. She has applied an overly restrictive interpretation.

"The Tory Trade Union Bill will have an impact on workers in local authorities and other devolved areas like the civil service and police as well as many Scottish businesses. This is not an issue for Holyrood to wash its hands of.

"The SNP government must not give up the fight at the first hurdle. All parties that want to block this bill should unite on this matter. "

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