MSPs urge Scots Govt: ‘Don’t bypass Parliament on Named Person’

MSPs have urged the Scottish Government to let Parliament scrutinise a named person code of practice on data sharing.

Holyrood’s Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee (DPLRC) says the code, which has been heavily criticised in recent weeks, should be included in subordinate legislation and put to the vote.

So far, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has insisted that he will have the final say on the code.


Swinney was grilled on the code of practice during a meeting of the DPLRC in September, where he heard that named persons would require a legal degree to understand it.

In the same week, MSPs also heard legal experts describe the code as “misleading at best”.

Reacting to the news today, Simon Calvert, of the No To Named Persons campaign (NO2NP), said: “This is a real rebuke for John Swinney.

‘A real rebuke’

“Hidden beneath the bland wording of a Parliamentary press release is the anger of a committee of MSPs denied the opportunity to exercise their constitutional and democratic duty”.

He added: “John Swinney’s entire approach to the Named Person scheme, and the UK Supreme Court’s damning judgment of it, has been dismal. His reputation for courtesy and competence is shattered. Now he’s even losing the support of some of his own MSPs.

“I don’t see how the Scottish Parliament can persevere with this Bill if Mr Swinney refuses their request. They might just kill it off altogether.”

Legal victory

The Scottish Government is attempting to revise its Named Person scheme after central data-sharing provisions were struck down by the UK Supreme Court last year. The ruling was the result of a lengthy court battle spearheaded by The Christian Institute.

Judges ruled that central elements of the scheme contravened human rights legislation.

In recent months, critics have repeatedly called for the Scottish Government to abandon the scheme altogether.

The Scottish Government allocated more than £60 million to the plans before they were halted.

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