TRADE union bosses have called on the UK Government to create a formal role for Scotland and the other devolved nations in post-Brexit trade talks.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) made the plea after a regular meeting between union chiefs and Holyrood Ministers.

It concluded that the majority of modern trade agreements would impact on devolved matters - with both agreeing as a result of this that the Scottish Government and the Parliament in Edinburgh should be involved in talks, and have to give their consent.

Scottish ministers could seek a formal role in negotiations, while MSPs could be asked to ratify any agreements struck between the UK and other nations, to ensure Scotland's interests are protected.

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said it would be "unacceptable" for devolved governments not to have any role in future trade talks.

He said: "We call on the UK Government to create a formal role for devolved nations and unions within its approach to trade.

"These issues are fundamental, we will not accept secret deals or an erosion of our rights."

The STUC chief was clear that the NHS "cannot be on the table" in any trade talks, adding that environmental protections, consumer rights and workers' rights also "cannot be undermined to make a quick buck".

Nicola Sturgeon said after the meeting that it is important to ensure standards are protected once the UK leaves the European Union, insisting new trading arrangements should "not be used as an excuse for a race to the bottom".

The First Minister said: "Although Scotland faces being removed from the EU against our will, we will continue to make sure Scotland's voice is heard every step of the way.

"These arrangements aren't just about who we trade with, they are about how we trade and how we maintain the highest possible standards. We want to minimise trade friction while ensuring consumer, environmental and worker protections are not allowed to suffer.

"It is also essential that workers' rights are fully protected. Of course only the transfer of responsibility for all powers over employment laws will enable the Scottish Parliament to ensure that this is the case."

The First Minister added: "The people of Scotland should not have fewer protections than our friends and neighbours within the EU as a result of a Brexit that we didn't vote for.

"We want to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU and ensure that any new deals are not used as an excuse for a race to the bottom when it comes to standards for trade."