FMQs: Ken Macintosh slams Scottish Government over Named Person leak

Ken Macintosh slammed the leak
Ken Macintosh slammed the leak
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Nicola Sturgeon has faced a ticking off by Holyrood bosses after plans to axe the controversial Named Person scheme for Scots children were leaked to the media.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh hit out today ahead of a statement by Deputy Presiding Officer John Swinney this afternoon when he is expected to confirm the scheme will be dumped six years after it was plans first emerged.

The Presiding Officer was speaking ahead of First Minister Questions as Ms Sturgeon and Mr Swinney looked on.

"I'm sure that members will be aware and share my disappointment that significant details of this afternoon's statement on getting it right for every child, the Named Persons legislation, have been leaked to the media in advance of this afternoon's announcement," he said.

"My understanding is that the Government is investigating this matter.

"But as members know announcements on major policies should not enter the public domain before they are communicated to this Parliament. I would urge the Government to have regard to this guidance on announcements and I expect it to be adhered to."

READ MORE: Scottish Government ready with Plan B for Named Person

The legislation suffered a Supreme Court defeat in 2016 and an expert panel set up by John Swinney to address to the Court's concerns failed to come up with a solution.

Mr Swinney will set out the Government's response to it this afternoon.

The plan faced an immediate backlash, with opponents warning it would be a 'snooper's charter', and it has faced legal challenges and question marks over resourcing and the workload of health visitors and headteachers - who are expected to be 'named persons' in most cases.

Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw accused the Government of failing to listen on the issue.

"Everybody from teachers to social workers and most crucially of all parents have made their case against it patiently and calmly.

"Rather than listening, the response of ministers has been stick their fingers in their ears. They've refused to budge and as a result ordinary taxpayers have been left with a staggering legal bill of £800,000.

"Can the First Minister honestly say when she looks back at the six long years since this policy was first announced that she and her Deputy stand by their handling of this fiasco?"

But the SNP leader insisted that the Government has "responded to and listened to " concerns.

Ms Sturgeon said opposition MSPs have every right to ask "detailed and searching" questions on such issues.

"What I do think is regrettable is the tone of this," she added.

"All of us want to do our level best to protect children - particularly vulnerable children - as much as possible.

"Everything the Government does around this is done in good faith and that will continue to be the case."