Nicola Sturgeon told named person scheme is `in tatters'

Nicola Sturgeon defied calls to ditch the Scottish Government's named person scheme when challenged over the controversial policy at First Minister's Questions.
Nicola SturgeonNicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the policy was “in tatters”, claiming the only people to have benefited from the “mess” were lawyers who had “coined in over £800,000 in legal fees”.

Ms Sturgeon was questioned on the issue the day after MSPs Holyrood’s Education Committee failed to support the scheme when they voted against publishing a Stage One report on the legislation.

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The vote which saw the five SNP MSPs on the committee outnumbered by six opposition politicians will further delay the plans to give every Scottish child a named person to look after their welfare.

The plans have been criticised for undermining family life and being unnecessarily intrusive.

Ms Davidson asked Ms Sturgeon why she was persisting with the plans.

Ms Sturgeon replied: “The Scottish Government will proceed with its named person plans for the simple reason that they are in the best interests of children – particularly vulnerable children across the country.”

The First Minister added that she was disappointed by the committee’s decision, but acknowledged that there were concerns over the code of practice that ministers want to accompany the bill.

Ms Davidson hit back, saying that the policy was a “mess” claiming that only the First Minister and her deputy John Swinney, who is in charge of the legislation, did not “seem to see it”.

“Everybody wants protection for vulnerable children,” Ms Davidson said. “But it is now clear the parliament has joined the public in no longer having confidence in these plans. We should focus resource on those who actually need it rather than having blanket interference for every family in Scotland. We are willing to get round the table to find a fresh solution for this. But first the First Minister needs to ditch this broken plan, because her named person policy is in tatters. Can she simply concede that so we can all move on.”