SNP minister Annabelle Ewing ‘unprepared’ over tagging figures

Annabelle Ewing MSP. Picture: Scott Louden
Annabelle Ewing MSP. Picture: Scott Louden
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SNP minister Annabelle Ewing was prevented from moving legislation on the electronic tagging of offenders after being rebuked by the convener of a Holyrood committee.

The legal affairs minister was appearing in front of MSPs yesterday to ask them to pass subordinate legislation which would overturn a ban on tagging those who have previously breached community sentences. But she was unable to provide statistics which were said to support the proposals.

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell, the committee’s convener, said: “Minister, I’m going to ask you not to move this at this time. I would very much like to see the statistics, which the committee should have had. You and your officials have come today unprepared without statistics referred to in the report – I find that unacceptable.”

Ms Ewing said it had been up to MSPs to carry out their own research into the matter.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are happy to provide the additional information some of the Committee members requested before progressing these draft regulations. Ministers will bring the regulations back to the Committee as soon as possible to allow us to implement one of the recommendations of the electronic monitoring working group.

“The use of home detention curfew is always at the discretion of the authorities who will take account of the need to protect the public, prevent re-offending and secure successful re-integration into the community.”