LEGISLATION to extend emergency coronavirus laws by at least six months has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament. 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney indicated the move was necessary to protect the public and maintain services.

The Scottish Tories previously accused the SNP of "trying to railroad" new legislation through Holyrood without proper scrutiny.

The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill was formally introduced today and will be debated by MSPs over three days from Tuesday, June 22.

It removes a number of measures no longer considered necessary to support the ongoing public health response, and extends others beyond the original expiry date of September 30, subject to the agreement of Parliament, to March 31, 2022.

Measures set to be extended include the ability for hearings across criminal and civil courts and tribunals to be held remotely, as well as an increased notice period of six months to protect private and social sector tenants from eviction.

The Bill does not introduce any new provisions. 

It does not cover travel regulations, which are a devolved public health measure, or lockdown measures, which are implemented within the UK Coronavirus Act 2020.

Mr Swinney said: “The Scottish Coronavirus Acts contain provisions which make temporary adjustments to respond to the pandemic, and protect the health of people living in Scotland.

“We have already suspended or expired many provisions that are now redundant as restrictions have eased. 

"However, to ensure those still required to protect the public and maintain essential public services can continue beyond September 30, we have brought legislation forward to enable parliamentary scrutiny before the summer recess.

“This timeframe is necessary to give public services like the courts certainty ahead of the Acts’ original expiry date, taking into account the time needed for this legislation to come into effect.

“We will continue to report to Parliament every two months on the use of these emergency powers, and remain committed to expiring or suspending any provisions that are no longer necessary.”