Former SNP chief to take centre stage at anti-named person rally

Jim Sillars, former Deputy Leader of the SNP, will speak out against the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person scheme later this month.

Mr Sillars, who served as an MP for the party, has been confirmed as a key speaker at a special conference organised by the No to Named Persons campaign (NO2NP).

The Christian Institute mounted a successful legal challenge against the Named Person scheme, which culminated in a ruling by the UK Supreme Court last year.


Aidan O’Neill QC, a lawyer involved with the successful Supreme Court challenge, will also speak at the conference on 20 March.

The news hit headlines shortly before current Deputy First Minister of the SNP John Swinney announced a “major climbdown” on the plans.

Speaking at Holyrood on Tuesday, Swinney revealed that personal information about families will now only be shared without consent in “exceptional circumstances”.

Information sharing had been a central provision in previous proposals for the Named Person scheme, but they were struck down by the UK Supreme Court in the case of The Christian Institute and others v The Lord Advocate (Scotland).

Data sharing

Swinney told MSPs that a new Bill amending the Named Person legislation would be brought forward.

In the new proposals, sharing of personal information under the Named Person scheme will comply with existing law.

Swinney said he would seek to introduce the new Bill before the summer, and “work with Parliament” to implement it in 2018.

‘Major climbdown’

In response, NO2NP said: “However they try to spin it, this is a major climbdown by the Scottish Government.

“After two years of causing fear and confusion amongst parents, they are now conceding that they cannot lower the threshold for non-consensual disclosure of personal information on families.

“They are reverting to the existing threshold of ‘risk of harm’. It’s about time.

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“It all goes to show what a complete waste of time and money it has been to try to create a system to allow officials to pass around confidential personal information on children and families almost at will.”

NO2NP added: “It’s not over, by any means. We must continue to be vigilant. We must make sure the Bill Mr Swinney brings forward really does leave the data-sharing threshold at its current level as the Supreme Court demanded.”

Visit the Named Person page on our website to find out more about the lengthy campaign against the scheme, spearheaded by The Christian Institute.

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