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Westminster control threatening the rights of Scotland's children, claims Maree Todd

By Alan Hendry

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Maree Todd argued that 'we cannot trust the Tories to protect future generations in Scotland'.
Maree Todd argued that 'we cannot trust the Tories to protect future generations in Scotland'.

North MSP Maree Todd has alleged that being under Westminster control is threatening the rights of children in Scotland.

After a legal challenge by the London government, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament could not enshrine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law.

The bill had been unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament. However, the Supreme Court has now ruled that parts of it fall outwith Holyrood's competence.

Ms Todd claimed that the judgement "laid bare the limitations of the devolution settlement".

The move came as the UK government ended the £20 Universal Credit uplift. In doing so, Ms Todd said, the government was "taking away from the most vulnerable at a time when they need it most".

The SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross serves as Scotland's minister for public health, women's health and sport.

“The Scottish Government introduced the UNCRC Bill to put the needs of children in Scotland at the very heart of every decision made by government and local authorities," Ms Todd said.

“However, those noble intentions have been scuppered by the Westminster Tories' challenge. The court judgment lays bare the limits placed on the Scottish Parliament and within the devolution settlement that we cannot introduce vital protections for our young people – leaving them at the mercy of a callous Tory UK government.

“We cannot trust the Tories to protect future generations in Scotland as they cut Universal Credit this week and plunge 20,000 children into poverty.

“Families in my constituency will face a decision of whether to heat their homes or feed their children as the cost of living skyrockets, with energy bills increasing and food bills going up.

“The only way we can ensure we protect the future of Scotland from an uncaring Tory UK government is with the full powers of independence.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government remained committed to incorporating the UNCRC into domestic law to the maximum extent possible.

“While we fully respect the court’s judgment and will abide by the ruling, we cannot help but be bitterly disappointed," Mr Swinney said.

"It makes plain that we are constitutionally prohibited from enacting legislation that the Scottish Parliament unanimously decided was necessary to enshrine and fully protect the rights of our children.

“The judgment exposes the devolution settlement as even more limited than we all – indeed the Scottish Parliament itself –­ had understood. It sets out new constraints on the ability of our elected Scottish Parliament to legislate to protect children’s rights in the way it determines.

“There is no doubt that the implications of this judgment are significant from a children’s rights perspective."

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