THE six Scottish Conservative MPs have voted to include Scotland in the UK Government's controversial anti-strike legislation which unions have decried as 'draconian'.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, was amended in the Lords where a clause was appended which would have restricted the legislation to England only. However all six Scottish Tory MPs voted to reject that amendment in the Commons on Monday. Labour, the SNP, and the LibDems all voted to keep the exemption for Scotland and Wales in place, but thanks to Tory votes the amendment was struck down by 288 votes to 227.

The bill aims to force striking workers to provide 'minimum levels of service' during industrial action or face the possibility of being sacked. The UK already has stringent legislation in place, introduced by previous Conservative governments and retained by subsequent Labour administrations, which place considerable hurdles in the way of trade unions before strike action can take place. This new legislation cracks down even further on the right to strike.

Paul Nowak, the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that the bill could see "nurses, paramedics, teachers, railway workers sacked for exercising what most people will think as a fundamental British liberty, the right to strike." and added that the legislation would make the UK into "a real international outlier."

He added that "the legislation was clear, people could lose their jobs if they fail to comply with these minimum service levels, pressing the point that this doesn't happen anywhere else in Europe."

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday morning, SNP MP David Linden attacked the anti-trade union legislation, comparing it to laws in force in "Russia, Hungary and Belarus". He added that the bill could result in a Westminster "power grab" at Holyrood's expense where the UK Government would be able to overrule the Scottish Government in industrial disputes in the public sector. Now, thanks to the Tories, this authoritarian legislation that all but 6 Scottish MPs have rejected is coming to Scotland too.

Is a by-election on the horizon in Rutherglen? 

During the same BBC interview, David Linden also called on Margaret Ferrier to resign her seat in order that a by election may be held in her Rutherglen and Hamilton East constituency. Margaret Ferrier lost the SNP whip after being charged and later convicted of breaking covid rules by travelling to her home from London by train despite knowing that she had been infected by the virus, she has sat as an independent since.

In March the Commons Select Committee on Standards recommended that she be suspended from Parliament for 30 days, a period long enough to trigger the recall process. This week she lost her appeal against the suspension meaning that the recall process will now commence and a recall petition will be opened for signatures.

At the 2019 General Election 53,794 voters cast a vote in the Rutherglen and Hamilton East constituency, representing 66.5% of the total electorate of 80,800 registered voters. In order to trigger a by election 10% of those registered to vote in the constituency must sign the recall petition within six weeks of it being opened.

READ MORE: How much Douglas Ross was paid for referee work this season

Therefore, just over 8000 constituents must sign the recall petition within the next six weeks if there is to be a by-election. The opposition parties will be campaigning hard locally in order to raise the necessary number of signatures, but it is by no means certain that this will be achieved.

Those seeking a by election cannot collect signatures as they go around the doors, up to ten venues within the constituency can be opened for signing the petition in person, and voters voters may also apply to sign by post on the same basis as postal voting Other attempts at recall have failed because the requisite number of signatures to the recall petition were not obtained in time, such as when North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Junior of the DUP was suspended from the Commons for 30 days (the same length of suspension as Margaret Ferrier) in 2018 due to breaking the rules about paid advocacy.

7543 signatures were required in order to trigger a by election but in the event only 7099 were received. This recall petition attracted controversy because the local authority, controlled by the DUP, opened only three centres where the petition could be signed in person.

Douglas Ross struggles with democracy again...

While he's not ensuring that Scottish workers are subjected to authoritarian anti-strike legislation for which there is no democratic mandate in Scotland, Douglas Ross is spending his time being petulant on the Scottish Affairs Committee.

The Scottish Tory leader has a seriously pettit lip over the fact that a Scottish Government which was elected on a mandate to pursue independence has had the audacity to appoint a minister for independence. The concept of a democratic mandate is something Ross struggles with.

Ross boorishly interrupted SNP MP Deirdre Brock who had been asking about UK government funding in Scotland and raised the issue of the £1.5m funding awarded to repair the Cloddach Bridge in Ross's Moray constituency and said, "God, It's being going on a while," after being told that he must not interrupt by the committee chair, SNP MP Pete Wishart.

He also attempted to question Lyn McDonald, a civil servant who is acting director of the Scotland Office, about the First Minister's appointment of a minister for independence.

JP Marks, the head civil servant in the Scottish Government had previously dismissed he criticism of Humza Yousaf for creating the cabinet post. McDonald did not rise to Ross's crude attempt to induce a civil servant to criticise an elected government's policy decisions, saying that she would not like to comment because it is "entirely up to them to appoint who they want as a minister."