FMQs: Sturgeon refuses to back down on Named Persons

Nicola Sturgeon today rejected calls for a climbdown on controversial plans to introduce a Named Person for every child in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon won't back down on Named Person
Nicola Sturgeon won't back down on Named Person

The First Minister told MSPs that the plans - which have already been blocked by the UK Supreme Court - will help "vulnerable children" in Scotland and pledged to press head with revised proposals.

It comes after legal chiefs warned MSPs this week that teachers and health visitors - who will take on the role - may need lawyers on "speed dial" as they grapple with the legal minefield over what information to share with social work departments about youngsters' well-being.

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They even warned that the headteachers could face the prospect of litigation from parents.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson today called for a rethink.

"It's been clear for years that the Named Person scheem as designed simply won't work," Ms Davidson said.

"But we have a Scottish Government that is ploughing ahead with it. After five years of debating this back and forwards here's where we are at - a second attempt at legislation that even it's supporters says is flawed, that legal experts say is confused and that teachers and health workers warn will be an enormous burden on them.

"In all good faith can we not just start again with a blank sheet of paper because all of us in this chamber want to protect vulnerable children, but we need to do it within the law."

But the First Minister insisted that the the current stage one scrutiny process at Holyrood will give the opportunity for concerns to be raised and the proposals changed to reflect them.

"I'm glad that Ruth Davidson managed to mention vulnerable children because they are at the centre of this," the First Ministers said.

"This will is about rectifying these laws. We're at the start of a legislative process and stakeholders make their views known and we consider their views."

Ms Sturgeon say the Tories were opposed to the plans in principle and claimed that the Supreme Court had only pointed to flaws in the information sharing plan, but not the principle of the scheme.