Ministerial Statement Outcome of EU Referendum


Protection for workers’ rights in a post-Brexit Scotland was raised in The Scottish Parliament by Christina McKelvie during a Ministerial statement from Government minister for Scotland’s place in Europe, Mike Russell MSP.

Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, questioned the Minister as it was revealed that before the end of 2017, The Scottish Government will publish its plans to protect Scotland’s interests in Europe.

The Scottish Government announcement comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed that Monday’s [24th October] talks with the UK Government on their plans for Brexit were “hugely frustrating”.

Commenting during the statement, Christina said:

“Following suggestions that hard-right Tory MPs are planning, in a bid to scrap red tape, to insert into Theresa May’s Brexit bill a sunset clause that would mean that all EU laws automatically expired after five years, does the Minister agree with Antonia Bance, the Trades Union Congress’s head of campaigns, who said yesterday that, as we all know, this is how workers’ rights come under threat”?

In reply, Mr. Russell stated:

“Christina McKelvie is absolutely right to say that guaranteeing social protection—not just the continuation of the existing social protections but the continuing improvement of social protection, to which the EU is committed—will be vital to Scotland’s national interests. The issue is also tied up with the single market; if the single market is undermined and removed, social protections, too, are undermined and removed. The idea of a sunset clause, as proposed by a very right-wing ex-Tory chairman, is, in fact, an attempt to undermine that and should be resisted with vigour.

Commenting after the statement, Christina added:

“I’m glad that the Minster agreed with me that this ‘sunset clause’ presents a real threat to the social protections and protections for workers’ rights that European Union membership offers.

“Whilst the UK Government are no further forward in informing Scotland - who didn’t vote for Brexit - what their own plans for Brexit include, The Scottish Government has signaled its intent to protect Scotland’s interest.

“This includes retaining access to the single market, seeking inclusion over any future trade deals, whilst having greater powers over industry, fishing and farming devolved to The Scottish Parliament.