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Trade Union Bill

Volume 609: debated on Wednesday 11 May 2016

5. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministers of the Scottish Government on the potential effect on Scotland of measures in the Trade Union Bill. (904917)

10. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministers in the Scottish Government on the effect on Scotland of the measures proposed by the Trade Union Bill. (904922)

The Trade Union Bill is now waiting Royal Assent. It is about employment and industrial relations law, which are reserved matters, and it will apply consistently across the United Kingdom. We have engaged with the Scottish Government through the passage of the Bill, and we will carry on with that work.

Despite the Trade Union Bill’s worst elements being removed or watered down, it is still a bad Bill. Does the Minister agree that a bad Bill will not make for good industrial relations in Scotland?

I do not share the hon. Gentleman’s views on the Bill. It is an excellent Bill and I fully support it and its aims.

Parties in both Wales and Scotland have prepared legislative consent memorandums on the Trade Union Bill on the basis that the Bill clearly impinges on devolved competences. In the light of that, does the Minister not now agree that the Bill should be subject to legislative consent motions? What action will the Government take to ensure that similar circumstances do not arise in future?

I am reliably informed that that has already happened. The hon. Lady is just not up to date on all of this.

With the relegation of Labour to third place in last week’s Scottish elections, does the Minister agree that now is exactly the right time to introduce an opt-in system for union members who wish to contribute to political funds rather than it being the default position?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. I pay handsome tribute to the outstanding Ruth Davidson. Like the Prime Minister, she is a moderate, sensible, one nation Conservative. She has turned the skies of Scotland blue with, if I may say, a rather pleasing tinge of pink at the edges.

The Government made a number of concessions on the Trade Union Bill, but the Bill still seeks to undermine constructive social partnership and, as such, it is at odds with the democratic will of the people of Scotland and Wales. Given that the Government say that they believe in mutual respect between central Government and the devolved institutions, will they now hold immediate discussions with the devolved institutions about how the Bill will relate to Scotland and Wales?

Discussions are always continuing. Again, this is another red herring and the hon. Gentleman is out of touch on this. This Bill is good: it is good for Britain, good for trade unions and good for future working relations.