Plans for a state guardian scheme will have to be gutted, the Scottish Government has finally conceded. The belated acceptance of the UK Supreme Court’s July ruling is great news for parents in Scotland and across the UK.
Having spent seven months trying to salvage as much as he can of the controversial Named Person legislation, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the central plank of its flagship scheme will be repealed.
The legislation forced professionals to act in an unprofessional way, sharing even the most trivial information with state guardians. It effectively created a parallel state parent for every child. This intrusive approach is now to be abandoned.
There can be no doubt that this is a major climbdown by the Scottish Government.
Swinney said that information will only be shared without consent in “exceptional circumstances”, such as where a child is at risk. Of course the authorities must be able to act when children are in danger, and we have never argued against this.
Swinney’s ‘new’ approach is simply a restatement of the existing law. This is what we have argued for over nearly three years and three court hearings. This is the argument we made, and won, in the Supreme Court case The Christian Institute and Others v The Lord Advocate (Scotland) back in July.
This late change of heart from the Scottish Government is a recognition of the size and scope of their Supreme Court defeat. It is a further vindication of the stance we have taken and a major victory for parents who have finally been put back in charge of their families.
Since the judgment is a UK precedent, it has very helpful implications for all families in the UK.
We give thanks to God for his wonderful provision. We give thanks too for your faithful support. Your prayers and generous financial giving enabled us to maintain the fight for family freedom in the face of unprecedented opposition.
Other battles continue on sex education, parental freedom in Wales and state inspections of church youth groups. But we trust you will be encouraged by this latest good news from Scotland.
If you are able to make a financial donation to support our work at this time we would be very grateful.