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Workers' rights under threat from Tory's Brexit Bill, a Scottish minister warns

Holyrood rejects the Withdrawal Agreement Bill by 92 to 29

THE British government wants to “cut and remove” workers’ rights after Brexit, a Scottish minister warned today as Holyrood rejected the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Scotland’s Brexit Secretary Mike Russell had urged MSPs to withhold consent for the legislation ahead of today’s debate.

They heeded his call, rejecting PM Boris Johnson’s Bill by 92 to 29.

Ahead of the vote, Mr Russell warned that workers’ rights were at risk due to changes in Clause 26 in the Bill that would mean courts are no longer bound by previous judgements by European courts.

“The reality of the situation is this will undermine workers’ rights and protections, human rights will be undermined and environmental rights will be undermined,” he told the Scottish Parliament’s constitution committee.

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is currently being passed through Westminster.

Holyrood’s rejection of the legislation, however, is largely symbolic as MSPs cannot prevent it from progressing in the Commons.

This is because although Westminster must seek consent for legislation that will affect devolved areas, the British government does not have to follow the outcome.

Mr Russell predicted today that the British government would ignore the Holyrood vote, saying that Westminster had shown “scant — if any respect” to devolved nations on Brexit.

He also revealed the deteriorating state of relations between the Scottish Parliament and Westminster.

“It’s fair to say that normal relationships which I’ve been used to as a minister these last 12 years are at a low ebb from officials as well as ministers.

“It’s an extraordinarily difficult set of relations that have got even worse since the Johnson government [in Westminster] got elected.”

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