Confusion over Named Person scheme

Nicola Sturgeon has been caught up in a row over the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person legislation.

She told MSPs in the parliament yesterday that the scheme was not mandatory and parents were not obliged to make use of the network of State guardians.

However her remarks appear to directly contradict comments made by the Scottish Government’s own lawyer Alistair Clark QC who told the Court of Session last July that an opt-out for parents would defeat the whole purpose of the scheme.

Campaigners responded swiftly to the First Minister’s comments by warning there is currently no legal opt-out written into the legislation.

During FMQs yesterday, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson accused the First Minister of trying to spin her way out of trouble.

Under current Scottish government plans, from August this year every young person in Scotland will have a State appointed guardian who will have authority to intervene if they believe the child’s wellbeing is at risk.

Information will be stored on a national database and campaigners have said the plans represent a serious undermining of the role of parents.

CARE for Scotland are part of the No to Named Person campaign (NO2NP) and the charity’s parliamentary officer Dr Gordon Macdonald previously warned: “This scheme is very dangerous and will undermine parents as those best placed to look after children”.

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert said: “The First Minister is a lawyer. She should know if you want an opt-out you have to write it into the legislation”.

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