LABOUR has accused the UK Government of dishonestly rushing through legislation intended to stop certain key workers from striking to ensure "minimum service" cover.

The opposition said ministers had failed to consult the International Labour Organisation (ILO) about the Strikes (Minimum Services Levels) Bill, which will cover fire, ambulance and rail workers, and is due to debated by MPs today.

Labour said it had evidence disproving claims by PM Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Grant Shapps that the Bill had ILO backing and was compatible with ILO rules.

Last week, while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, ILO director general Gilbert Houngbo reportedly expressed concern about the Government's plans.

Labour said that in response to a written parliamentary question from deputy leader Angela Rayner, Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said his Department had had no meetings or correspondence with the UN agency for labour rights.

Labour is committed to opposing the regulations and repealing them.

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Ms Rayner said: "Grant Shapps' ludicrous claims that his 'sacking nurses Bill' has the international seal of approval are collapsing around his ears.

"Fresh from ministers being publicly called out by the ILO director general and the US labour secretary, we learn they have failed to make any contact at all with the

UN agency charged with protecting employment rights about this Bill.

"The Business Secretary has been hiding behind warped and wilful misunderstandings of the ILO's code in his desperate attempts to justify this shoddy, unworkable and vindictive piece of legislation while failing to even pick up the phone.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: "The Government is trying to keep MPs in the dark about the draconian nature of this Bill."

MPs will spend up to six hours considering the remaining stages of the Bill today, with more than 50 pages of amendments tabled for its committee stage, including an SNP bid to rename it the "Anti-Strikes (Forced Working) Bill".

If approved at third reading, the Bill will go to the House of Lords for further scrutiny, with a second reading debate on February 21.

A UK Government spokesman said: "We must keep the public safe, which is why we are introducing minimum service and safety levels."